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What Struck Earth in 775?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the park-that-anywhere dept.

Earth 344

ananyo writes "Just over 1,200 years ago, the planet was hit by an extremely intense burst of high-energy radiation of unknown cause, scientists studying tree-ring data have found. The radiation burst, which seems to have hit between 774 and 775, was detected by looking at the amounts of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 in tree rings that formed during the 775 growing season in the Northern Hemisphere. The increase in 14C levels is so clear that the scientists conclude that the atmospheric level of 14C must have jumped by 1.2% over the course of no longer than a year, about 20 times more than the normal rate of variation (abstract). Yet, as the only known events that can produce a 14C spike are supernova explosions or giant solar flares, and neither event was observed at the time, astronomers have a cosmic mystery on their hands."

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Quite Obvious, Even to Me (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207591)

You need only look at the years leading up to 775 to unravel this mystery. In 773 [wikipedia.org] at the start of the Islamic Golden Age, the number zero was introduced to Baghdad which would, in 775 [wikipedia.org] , surpass China's capital of Chang'an as Earth's largest city. Now, we know from the second law of thermodynamics [wikipedia.org] that 'the entropy of an isolated system that is in equilibrium is constant.' Now with all those people suddenly using zero in tons of transactions and writings, Earth experienced a huge decrease in entropy. I'm sure if you analyze the existing works from the time, you'll find that pervasive use of the hot new number zero increased the frequency of numbers at the time by 1.2%. That means that somewhere there had to be an increase in entropy to maintain the balance described by the second law of thermodynamics. Of course, anyone with a mail-order internet degree can tell you the obvious natural source of entropy at the time would be the decay of nitrogen-14. What? Falsifiability? Just watch, the floods in Thailand have lead to a decrease in production of ones and zeros hard drives which means we'll finally get a break from this 'global warming' or (let's just call it for what it really is) the 'entropic energy extravaganza!'

Also, for good measure: Nazis.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207753)

Flooding in Thailand? That's just the rumblings of Cthulhu in his city of Rl'yeh.

Also, as far as what hit Earth in 775, that was plainly a time-travelling Chuck Norris.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208157)

Solar flare from Bernard's Star in our direction

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207797)

Totally wrong, it was global warming, this is what global warming does people.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (-1, Troll)

JMJimmy (2036122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207849)

Wrong. God farted.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207909)

With that much carbon, it must have been a wet one.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207855)

Oblig southpark: We didn't listen!

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (2)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207881)

I was going to answer "Tesla and one of his experiments" but your explanation works for me.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207903)

I was going to answer "Tesla and one of his experiments" but your explanation works for me.

Presumably the experiment involving time travel.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207953)

Presumably the experiment involving time travel.

No, that was Einstein.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208001)

Whoosh!

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208215)

Couldn't've been, Hitler is still in my textbooks.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (3, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208249)

But his name was Josef Gottsdamm before, and he was a plumber from Sheissburg.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208261)

Couldn't've been, Hitler is still in my textbooks.

Duh. We have to go back and rescue him every time one of you noobs gets your time travel license.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207971)

No, the radiation is a resultant of the explosion of the second Death Star; it happened a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away so it took that long to get here.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207987)

Well, somebody's in a good mood today! :P

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208011)

My hat is off to you, sir. You clearly understand time cube.

Re:Quite Obvious, Even to Me (5, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208147)

All I see is the universal Linux file permission.

More articles like this one (5, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207603)

I don't have a comment other than to say that I enjoy articles like this one. Please bring more like it and i will hit refresh 20 times to get yor page hit count up :)

Re:More articles like this one (4, Funny)

belthize (990217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207665)

I don't know, I've read the article and it's still not clear to me whether an iPhone or Android is better, who to vote for, whether I should be mad at banks and who to vote for.

On a more serious note, I wholeheartedly agree.

Re:More articles like this one (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207991)

I don't know, I've read the article and it's still not clear to me whether an iPhone or Android is better, who to vote for, whether I should be mad at banks and who to vote for.

Whether an iPhone or Android is better: Yes. While both iPhones and Android phones also emit radiation, that radiation is for sure less harmful than the high-energy radiation from this event.

Who to vote for: It was an event of huge radiation. Radiation is bad, so to prevent such radiation in the future, you should vote for the Green: Since they are against radiation, they will certainly make sure that such a disastrous event (so disastrous that even the records about it got destroyed!) won't happen again.

Whether you should be mad at banks: Banks usually have security personnel, therefore being mad at that place might not be a good idea. On the other hand, if you are a danger to yourself when going mad, it may be a better idea to be mad at a bank than when alone at home. Just make sure it's not your bank you get mad at, because they might not let you in again afterwards.

Who to vote for: Well, this was possibly caused by solar flares. Now the Green are all for solar energy, which, as this event shows, is not without danger. Therefore you should vote for anyone but the Green.

SCNR :-)

Re:More articles like this one (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208205)

Maybe their Obama decided that the treat of Chingiz Han is too big, and wanted to protect his country by using the well forgotten and useful TSA agency, which resulted the before mentioned peek in radiation..... And after that, silence, of the lambs.

Re:More articles like this one (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208333)

Vote for Kodos.

Puny Human!

Re:More articles like this one (1)

Flipstylee (1932884) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208045)

I don't have a comment other than to say that I enjoy articles like this one. Please bring more like it and i will hit refresh 20 times to get yor page hit count up :)

I Third that, i'll be checking for AstronomyCast updates as i surely hope this will make it's way into an episode, there's nothing like
history being solved by science, rather than... spear-shaking.

Lavos (5, Funny)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207605)

Is that you?

Re:Lavos (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207803)

Virgin alert!

Re:Lavos (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207913)

By total coincidence, I just came here from ordering the CT remake on DS. Apparently this cosmic ray burst happened to make me feel special today.

Re:Lavos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208247)

It's a port not a remake, and all the added content is terrible. Sorry to ruin your special day, you're better to dust off that SNES.

Re:Lavos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208003)

i bet you really like kawaii baka anime too dontcha? weaboo faggot

Behind the Sun? (4, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207613)

If the supernova was behind or near the Sun, earthlings around 775 wouldn't have been able to detect it.

Behind the Sun?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207737)

"Behind the Sun?"

Maximum Prophet, for your information, the Earth rotates around the Sun.

Being behind the Sun may not matter here, if the effect was strong and _long_ enough to elevate C14 levels.

Re:Behind the Sun?! (5, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207939)

"Behind the Sun?"

Maximum Prophet, for your information, the Earth rotates around the Sun.

Being behind the Sun may not matter here, if the effect was strong and _long_ enough to elevate C14 levels.

Wrong! Back then, the universe rotated around the earth. Everybody knows that. So it could be perfectly true back then, that this supernova hid behind the sun.

Re:Behind the Sun? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207767)

If there was a supernova around then, then there would be remnents of a supernova that we could date back to then, right? We would be able to observe the remnents today and work back to about when that particular star died, even if it wasn't observed back in 775, right?

Re:Behind the Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207865)

that is a great idea...

now how do you propose to find this one particular needle in a giant haystack?

Re:Behind the Sun? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208211)

First, we need a llama and then lots and lots of bubble wrap.

Re:Behind the Sun? (2)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208255)

Big magnet and a big fan.

Re:Behind the Sun? (2)

forand (530402) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207945)

Two problems with your hypothesis: 1) if the Earth was hit by a huge burst of radiation coming from the direction of the Sun it would have been recorded as a solar flare or something odd. 2) There would be remnants of such a nearby super nova clearly visible now and most assuredly in the months immediately following the event.

Re:Behind the Sun? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208035)

You cant see a Gamma Ray burst. Sorry the real world is not like SCI-Fi.

And no, they would not see it. Can you see ANY nebula in the night sky with your eyes? there are several that are LARGER than the moon up there if they were visible to the eye, but require a camera to show them, something that did not exist back then. Supernovae dont stay lit in the sky for a very long time they fade out to below human visibility within a short time and if it was close to the viewing line of the sun, Nobody would have ever seen it even if it was Lit up for a few weeks..

Re:Behind the Sun? (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208095)

Can you see ANY nebula in the night sky with your eyes?

Yes, there are. Orion, Pipe, Eta Carinae and Coal Sack are four you can see with the naked eye. Granted, the people back then wouldn't have known they were nebulas, but those objects were still visible in the night sky.

Re:Behind the Sun? (4, Informative)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208219)

M42 (Great Nebula in Orion) is clearly visible with the naked eye even in fairly light polluted areas. Also, people have reported seeing at least one supernova with the naked eye from back in those days when light pollution was essentially zero. but you are right about not being able to notice a SN if it was only visible during the day.

Re:Behind the Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208123)

Unless the event was visible only in the high energy range, maybe a supernova behind a galactic dust cloud so that the visible light didn't get to earth. Since the humans of that time didn't have the means to detect anything but visible light, this would mean they wouldn't have noticed at all. The supernova remains being behind a dust cloud would also explain why we haven't found it.

Re:Behind the Sun? (1, Funny)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208305)

Since the humans of that time

Guess how I know you watch a lot of sci-fi?

Re:Behind the Sun? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208155)

Two problems with that theory - a supernova close enough to cause a radiation spike would probably still be visible by the time the Sun moved out of the way, and in 775 someone would have noticed it. Even if it was far enough so it wasn't, the remains would still be very obvious -- it ought to have been much closer than the Crab Nebula remnant (6.5k light years, assploded in 1050 or 1060), and even I have seen that.

Re:Behind the Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208233)

You mean the sun farted a supernova? Oh I thought you said the Sun's behind.

Effect on Carbon dating? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207625)

Would this mean carbon dating is inaccurate for items older than 1300 years?

Time to redate the Shroud of Turin?

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207733)

Why do we care when a poorly made fake was made?

Your first question is more interesting.

1300 ys (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207759)

Yes, that object still is shrouded in mystery. But, recall, it is not older than 1300 years. It is from 1300AD , more or less.

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (1, Funny)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207787)

And maybe the creationists were right all along!

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207813)

It should only affect things made on or around the year 775 (which would appear younger). It shouldn't change the results for things before or after the anomaly.

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (2)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207817)

Not it just means an adjustment to c14 dating. It would not affect the shroud of turin, since it is clearly from well after 775.

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (0)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207899)

No, it's potentially inaccurate for things that were alive in 775 and later. If the shroud was growing plants after 774 then it is a fake.

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207911)

Would this mean carbon dating is inaccurate for items older than 1300 years?

Things that were alive in 775 appear to have more C14 than usual, so even after centuries of decay, they'd still have more C14 than usual, which would make them measure younger. This is my understanding from reading the "Amateur Scientist" column in "Scientific American" about doing radiocarbon dating at home. SciAm used to be a pretty cool magazine, well, 50 years ago. When I was a high school kid I spent about two weeks one summer reading on microfilm pretty much every Amateur Scientist column from the 30s (when it was all telescopes) until the 70s when it started sucking. You can buy a collection of those columns on a cdrom now, of course.

Time to redate the Shroud of Turin?

I'm not up on my mythology, but I think it's made of woven plant or animal fibers, and this would have no effect unless the plants or animals that made it were alive in 775. If it was grown in 775, then it would be misdated to be somewhat younger. I might misremember but isn't the mythology something along the lines that it was grown just a short time before year 0 ? This error is going in the opposite direction then. Or theres some alternate mythology as regards templars and freemasons and such, which is too recent to be fixed by the error.

Or the TLDR summary version of the above is ... "no, and no".

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (0)

donutz (195717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208303)

Just a side comment, but don't you think it's a little demeaning to dismiss the heartfelt beliefs of major segments of today's human population as "mythology"?

Re:Effect on Carbon dating? (5, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208355)

"Would this mean carbon dating is inaccurate for items older than 1300 years? "

No; RC dating uses lots of correction tables to account for events like this (this is not the only such event, just the biggest one that is not explained) and for natural/cyclic variations in C14. So the effects of this will already be catered for when computing dates; it's just the 'WTF' of the event itself being discussed here.

Solar telescopes? (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207629)

Where people making observations of the Sun in 775?

Re:Solar telescopes? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207695)

No. The sun was completely invisible until 1013.

Re:Solar telescopes? (4, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207721)

The Police wrote a song about that, IIRC.

Re:Solar telescopes? (0)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207805)

Mod parent funny :-)

Re:Solar telescopes? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207927)

If I do it'll be because I think it's funny; not because you say so.
I really wish people would stop with this sort of thing.

Re:Solar telescopes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208207)

Such recommendations on AC posts are useful if moderators don't lower their score threshold when moderating and therefore wouldn't see the AC post at all, but might see the recommendation post for it (because non-ACs get higher default score).

Re:Solar telescopes? (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208259)

He had actually been modded down, which I thought was undeserved, and I had already posted so I couldn't mod him up myself. So I thought I'd show my appreciation this way, which is quite a common thing to do and usually results in the post indeed being modded up by others later.

Re:Solar telescopes? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207973)

I take it that blindness was a common occupational hazard for those observers.

Re:Solar telescopes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208297)

Caution: Do Not Stare Into Sun With Remaining Eye.

Re:Solar telescopes? (2)

brusk (135896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207735)

Everywhere. Not telescope-quality, but historical records do mention unusual sunspot activity and the like. Something this big would have been noted, had it been visible.

Re:Solar telescopes? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207963)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_flare#History [wikipedia.org]
Says that the first observation of a solar flare didn't take place until the 1800s.
I am not all that sure about duration of such events but what if it had only been visible from the Americas? You still have the other effects but missing direct observation or no surviving data from direct observation seems very possible.
   

Re:Solar telescopes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207871)

Per Wikipedia's article on solar flares [wikipedia.org] , no. Yeah, it's wikipedia, but a little googling seems to confirm no known observations prior to 1859.

nuttin special goin on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207647)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/775
the usual

Chuck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207659)

Arrival of Chuck Norris?

It is Quit Obvious (4, Funny)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207663)

The Sol system was the site of a major inter-stellar battle. Two great space armadas firing nuclear weapons at each other. Each one trying to gain a foothold in this part of the Western Spiral Arm until of course they realized there was nothing worth it here.

Either that or a Vogon constructor fleet started making a hyper space by-pass. They got the planet between Mars and Jupiter and then the funding ran out.

Re:It is Quit Obvious (2)

klik (93694) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207769)

doesn't even need to be in this galaxy. a shot fired and missing will just keep travelling until it hits something.

Re:It is Quit Obvious (2)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207941)

Yea, Issac Newton is the most dangerous man in the Universe.

Re:It is Quit Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208191)

the deadliest son-of-a-bitch in space.

Re:It is Quit Obvious (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208185)

I read a book once, it was about UFO's, ancient Chinese flying carts, and an ancient nuclear war. Maybe that is it!

Volcano? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207683)

A Volcano could have spit out the this stuff?

Southern hemisphere supernova (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207781)

Yet, as the only known events that can produce a 14C spike are supernova explosions or ... and neither event was observed at the time

... was observed at the time in surviving northern written records.

Are there any detailed written astronomical observations from the southern hemisphere from that long ago?

Also it would be pretty funny if the two guys recording solar observations in 775 both had a rainstorm the day of the largest solar flare.

Re:Southern hemisphere supernova (4, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208141)

Are there any detailed written astronomical observations from the southern hemisphere from that long ago?

In 775 the Maya [wikipedia.org] were almost certainly making astronomical observations. In the Eastern Hemisphere, I had to Google a bit but the Srivijaya [wikipedia.org] Empire would have had a strong interest in astronomy for navigational purposes. But neither the Maya nor the Srivijaya civilizations have near as many surviving records as do European or Chinese civilizations of the same period.

Has anyone said "aliens" yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207799)

Lots of religious turmoil at the time. Maybe the old gods were angry and blew somebody up? You know how those 22nd century time travelers get when you piss them off.

Neither explanation is likely (4, Interesting)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207807)

Since a near supernova enough to increase Carbon 14 levels would leave other effects, and the flares explanation is, similarly, weak.It is just as likely there was a temporary reduction in the earth's magnetic field that allowed more ambient cosmic rays to strike earth. While this amount of variation in the magnetic field is high, it isn't out of range of other events. It has the further advantage of not leaving a large number of highly visible effects, except for very strong auroras, which, given the date, might not have been recorded frequently or unequivocally enough.

Re:Neither explanation is likely (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208017)

It has the further advantage of not leaving a large number of highly visible effects

What about geological magnetic field records?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetostratigraphy [wikipedia.org]

A lot of the initial geomagnetic reversal theory was figured out by basically plotting magnetic field strips across the sea floor using pretty crude equipment. Screwing around with the field that much would seem easy to detect now?

I had a geologist roommate once... I know just enough about geology to be really dangerous (like programmer with screwdriver)

here's your explainatiion (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208251)

1908 - 775 = 1133.
I've checked this several times and it always comes out the same. It's factually correct, so it must be the explanation.

Loki (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207811)

There Loki goes again, just messin' with us.

Re:Loki (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208357)

No no no. It was obviously the Cybermen. Or maybe the Borg. It all depends on which side of the Atlantic you're talking about.

Oh no... (1)

Vrekais (1889284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207815)

Why does this remind me of Nightfall? *SPOILERS* The scientists of the day in that book discover the fossil record of previous civilisations just prior to the cycle repeating itself, think I'm going to go build a fall out shelter.

But obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207825)

Aliens iradiated earth to stimulate speciation and evolution in the hope that someday we would become good hosts for their symbiotic / larvae pupe form.

Either this or it's because of the remaining radiations of the top-secret leaving time machine, going back to 2013.

New model of spaceship that year for the grays (1)

Zondar (32904) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207839)

They bought the budget model that didn't include the extra shielding.

Aliens! (3, Informative)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207851)

Lister: Your explanation for anything slightly peculiar is aliens, isn't it? You lose your keys, it's aliens. A picture falls off the wall, it's aliens. That time we used up a whole bog roll in a day, you thought that was aliens as well.
Rimmer: Well we didn't use it all, Lister. Who did?
Lister: Rimmer, *aliens* used our bog roll?
Rimmer: Just cause they're aliens doesn't mean to say they don't have to visit the little boys' room. Only they probably do something weird and alien-esque, like it comes out of the top of their heads or something.

--Red Dwarf, "Kryten"

Obligatory final line (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208081)

Rimmer: Just cause they're aliens doesn't mean to say they don't have to visit the little boys' room. Only they probably do something weird and alien-esque, like it comes out of the top of their heads or something.

Lister: Well, I wouldn't like to be stuck behind one in a cinema.

There's one other thing that can cause a spike... (2)

BurstElement (1332791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207891)

Atmospheric nuclear expolisions can also cause a spike in C14... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14 [wikipedia.org]
The obvious answer is that earth was nuked in the year 775!!!

Re:There's one other thing that can cause a spike. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40207949)

Hardly a spike, if we believe the written records of that time (referenced in the comments to the original article) which speak about lights that could be seen for many nights.

Re:There's other things that can cause a spike... (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208285)

Large scale: the solar system passed through the debris field of an old super nova and Earth picked up a lot of meteors high in C14.

Mid scale: Earth was struck by the remnants of a comet that had taken the full force of a solar flare while at its perihelion. The flare was not aimed at Earth, but Earth picked up a lot of meteors high in C14.

Small scale: The young punk delivery guy who brought the pizza to the Collaborated Alien Archeology Group that was studying Stonehenge kicked his runabout into hyperdrive before leaving the Earth's atmosphere. He would have been ticketed for that, but the mess he left behind would have cost more than the Galactic Overlord had in his budget for cleaning up a pre-industrial world.

obviously it was... (1)

DSS11Q13 (1853164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40207929)

ALIENS

is such a thing even possible?

yes it is

god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208009)

It was god. You know, it acts in mysterious ways, and in things we don't know about yet. And that's proof global warming is a fallacy! god will save us all!

The star of Bethlehem (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208029)

What was left of it took 775 years to get to earth.

Neither event was observed at the time (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208057)

Just because it was not observed, does not mean it did not happen.

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, it still makes a sound.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208339)

Except that, as the article points out, the reamains of any supernova that could account for the levels of radiation needed, would be easily detectable today. And a solar flare that would be powerful enough to have caused that effect, would also result in massive auroras (although that apparently is somewhat debatable), which would be extremely unlikely not to be commented upon in *any* of the surviving 'scientific' or historical documents. So the chances of either event happening and not being observed are miniscule.

A supernova is pretty much out. And according to our *current understanding of solar flares* it was not a solar flare either. Very interesting little puzzle, even if all it results in, is 'only' a better understanding of solar flares. Or better understanding of how the Earth's magnetic field can fluctuate or whatever. Or even a revisiting of some obscure references to brighter northern lights in old documents.

Someone didn't enter the code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208107)

Someone didn't enter the code when the 108-minute timer reached zero.

The Empire blew up Alderaan (1)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208179)

Geeze, and these guys call themselves scientists.

Year of Permissiveness (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208243)

775 was a year of false permissiveness when anyone could read or do anything as long as it was produced by a small cabal known as "the group", headed by "owner".

well (5, Informative)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40208359)

A.D. 774. This year the Northumbrians banished their king,
Alred, from York at Easter-tide; and chose Ethelred, the son of
Mull, for their lord, who reigned four winters. This year also
appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset; the
Mercians and the men of Kent fought at Otford; and wonderful
serpents were seen in the land of the South-Saxons.

http://omacl.org/Anglo/part2.html [omacl.org]

Alien visitation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40208365)

Its simple - this is the residue of the propulsion blast from the spaceship that brought alien technology to earth. All we need do is find out what giant leaps in technology were made around then & we'll have the answer.

Either that or Freemasons 8-{D

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