Researchers from Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the University of Kashmir said that the mural, depicted on a door-arch of Mosque of Madani, shows the supernova as a dragon-head on the tail of constellation Sagittarius.
Supernovae are celestial events which happen when massive stars exhaust their nuclear fuel and explode in a spectacular fashion. If that star is placed in our part of the Milky Way galaxy, the explosion could be visible from the earth, even during daytime, for several days.
Although the original mural is now lost to the forces of time, some descriptions about it are available and Department of Central Asian Studies in University of Kashmir has a reproduction of the same in their museum, a study said in the Journal Astronomische Nachrichten (Astronomical Notes) published yesterday from Germany.
Prof Mayank Vahia of TIFR, co-author of the study and principal investigator of the research project of Archaeoastronomy in Indian Context said, "Now, for the first time, we have found an Indian record of a supernova event."
"Many researchers had extensively searched Sanskrit literature for years and when no record was found, it was generally assumed that no records would ever be found. We looked at the non-literary sources and that proved to be decisive," Vahia said.