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Submission + - Has a biochem undergrad solved a cosmic radiation mystery? (

scibri writes: A few weeks ago, reports of a mysterious spike in carbon-14 levels in Japanese tree rings corresponding to the year 775 intrigued astronomers.

Such a spike could only have been caused by a massive supernova or solar flare, but there was no evidence of either of these at that time. Until Jonathon Allen, a biochem undergrad at UC Santa Cruz googled it.

He found a reference in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to a "red crucifix" appearing in the sky in 774, and speculates that it could have been a supernova hidden behind a cloud of dust, which could mask the remnants of the exploded star from astronomers today.

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Has a biochem undergrad solved a cosmic radiation mystery?

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C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]