Supernovae Struck the Earth 3 Million and 7 Million Years Ago

X-ray image of the Tycho supernova, also known as SN 1572, located between 8,000 and 9,800 light-years from Earth. Tycho is an example of a recent supernova that was visible from Earth in 1572. (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIKEN & GSFC/T. Sato et al; Optical: DSS)

A recent study examines how the Earth was hit by blasts from supernovae (plural form of supernova (SN)) that occurred 3 million years ago (Mya) and 7 Mya with the goal of ascertaining the distances of where these blasts originated. Using the live (not decaying) radioactive isotope 60-Fe, which is produced from supernovae, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois was able to determine the approximate astronomical distances to the blasts, which they refer to as Pliocene Supernova (SN Plio, 3 Mya) and the Miocene Supernova (SN Mio, 7 Mya).

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Did an Ancient Supernova Force Humans to Walk Upright?

Crab nebula
The Crab Nebula (Messier 1) a recent supernova remnant noticed as a bright new star in Taurus in the 11th century. Image credit and copyright: Nick Howes.

A new study hints at a possible fascinating twist in human evolution. Did a chain of cosmic events triggered by a nearby ancient supernova force humans to walk upright?

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