Astronomer John Barentine ran into this carving while hiking in the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Arizona. The carving, made by prehistoric Native Americans, depicts a scorption and an eight-pointed star, which reminded him of the supernova of AD 1006 in the constellation Scorpius.
The supernova would have been brighter than a planet, and both it and the constellation - which is shaped like a scorpion - would have appeared just above the edge of the rock, in the same orientation depicted in the carvings. Native Americans populated the region during that period and often recorded objects thought to have magical powers, says Barentine.
"It's by no means conclusive, but I think it's strong circumstantial evidence that the art depicts the supernova," says Barentine. He announced his theory at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, on Monday.