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Nebula A guest star was seen by the Chinese in 1054 The supernova explosion was witnessed in the area of Earths sky where today we see an expanding gas cloud that we call Crab Nebula The guest star was so bright it was visible in daylight The most dramatic supernova was observed in the year 1006 AD It appeared in May as a brilliant point of light visible during the day It was bright enough to cast shadows on the ground during the night Because astronomers have never seen this be4 it was refered to as a guest star SUNSPOTS dark usually irregularly shaped spots on the suns surface that are actually solar magnetic storms The Chinese recorded dark features on the sun seen with the naked eye in 28 BC Sunspots are not permanent since the suns surface is gaseous Because the sun rotates on its axis a sunspot cannot be observed continuously for more than about two weeks Sunspot activity produces various disturbances on earth-these include magnetic storms which manifest themselves as aurorae interference with radio reception and electric power grids and disturbances of the magnetic compass ECLIPSE mankinds first record of an eclipse of the Sun was made in China in 2136 BC Chinese could predict eclipses by analyzing the motions of the moon COMETS There are Chinese records of comet halley going back to at least 240 BC Comets are a mixture of ices and dust and orbit around the solar system When they get near the sun the ice melts leaving behind a tail ZHENG Zhengtong a Ming Dynasty ruler of China from 1436-1449 He employed court astronomers to record analyse and interpret astronomical data had the Ancient Beijing Observatory built at the southeast corner of the old city wall A 46-ft-high platform held eight Qing Dynasty bronze astronomical instruments Two were built in 1439 and six in 1673 KAN TE In
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