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In Chinese astronomy, a guest star (Chinese: 客星; pinyin: kèxīng; lit. 'guest star') is a star which has suddenly appeared in a place where no star had previously been observed and becomes invisible again after some time. The term is a literal translation from ancient Chinese astronomical records.

Modern astronomy recognizes that guest stars are manifestations of cataclysmic variable stars: novae and supernovae. The term "guest star" is used in the context of ancient records, since the exact classification of an astronomical event in question is based on interpretations of old records, including inference, rather than on direct observations.

In ancient Chinese astronomy, guest stars were one of the three types of highly transient objects (bright heavenly bodies). The other two were comets with tails (Chinese: 彗星; pinyin: huìxīng; lit. 'broom star') and comets without tails (Chinese: 星孛; pinyin: xīngbó; lit. 'fuzzy star'), with the former term being used for all comets in modern astronomy.[1] The earliest Chinese record of guest stars is contained in Han Shu (漢書), the history of Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), and all subsequent dynastic histories had such records.[1] These contain one of the clearest early descriptions consistent with a supernova, posited to be left over by object SN 185, thus identified as a supernova remnant of the exact year 185 CE.[2] Chronicles of the contemporary Ancient Europeans are more vague when consulted for supernovae candidates.[3] Whether due to weather or other reasons for lack of observation, astronomers have questioned why the notable remnant attributed to Chinese observations of a guest star in 1054 CE (see SN 1054), is missing from the European records.[3]
See also

Historical comet observations in China

References

Zhentao Xu, David W. Pankenier (2000) "East-Asian Archaeoastronomy: Historical Records of Astronomical Observations of China, Japan, and Korea", ISBN 90-5699-302-X, Chapter 6, "Guest Stars"
Zhao FY; Strom RG; Jiang SY (2006). "The Guest Star of AD185 Must Have Been a Supernova". Chinese J Astron Astrophys. 6 (5): 635–40. Bibcode:2006ChJAA...6..635Z. doi:10.1088/1009-9271/6/5/17.

Murdin, Paul; Murdin, Lesley (1985). Supernovae. ISBN 0-521-30038-X.

vte

Supernovae
Classes

Type Ia Type Ib and Ic Type II (IIP, IIL, IIn, and IIb) Hypernova Superluminous Pair-instability


Supernova&galaxia.png
G299-Remnants-SuperNova-Type1a-20150218.jpg
Physics of

Calcium-rich Carbon detonation Foe Near-Earth Phillips relationship Nucleosynthesis
P-process R-process Neutrinos

Related

Imposter
pulsational pair-instability Failed Gamma-ray burst Kilonova Luminous red nova Nova Pulsar kick Quark-nova Symbiotic nova

Progenitors

Hypergiant
yellow Luminous blue variable Supergiant
blue red yellow White dwarf
related links Wolf–Rayet star

Remnants

Supernova remnant
Pulsar wind nebula Neutron star
pulsar magnetar related links Stellar black hole
related links Compact star
quark star exotic star Zombie star Local Bubble Superbubble
Orion–Eridanus

Discovery

Guest star History of supernova observation Timeline of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and supernovae

Lists

Candidates Notable Massive stars Most distant Remnants In fiction

Notable

Barnard's Loop Cassiopeia A Crab
Crab Nebula iPTF14hls Tycho's Kepler's SN 1987A SN 185 SN 1006 SN 2003fg Remnant G1.9+0.3 SN 2007bi SN 2011fe SN 2014J SN Refsdal Vela Remnant

Research

ASAS-SN Calán/Tololo Survey High-Z Supernova Search Team Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope Monte Agliale Supernovae and Asteroid Survey Nearby Supernova Factory Sloan Supernova Survey Supernova/Acceleration Probe Supernova Cosmology Project SuperNova Early Warning System Supernova Legacy Survey Texas Supernova Search

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