Historians find first description of aurora in Chinese text

(ORDO NEWS) — The oldest description of the aurora has been found in Chinese texts, dating back to the early 10th century BC, according to a new study by an international team of scientists.

The description was found in the text of the Bamboo Annals, the most important written source on the history of ancient China.

The chronicle describes a “five-colored light” observed in the northern part of the night sky at the end of the reign of King Zhao, the fourth king of the Chinese Zhou dynasty.

The exact dates of Zhao’s reign are unknown, but it is likely that the “five-colored light” event took place either in 977 BC or 957 BC, according to the study.

Thus, the Chinese recorded the aurora about 300 years before the first mention of this celestial event among the Assyrians.

In general, the Bamboo Annals are one of the most important sources on the history of astronomical phenomena.


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