'Supernova' 185 is really a nova plus Comet P/Swift-Tuttle

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The Chinese History of the Later Han Dynasty reports on a guest star which appeared on 7 December AD 185. This has been widely accepted as a supernova, although the identify of the remnant is much debated. As such, this report has been extensively used to date supernova remnants, pulsars, and even to measure the Hubble Constant. Recently, Chin & Huang have claimed that the Chinese report is actually of some unknown comet that was visible for >210 days. Both the supernova and comet hypotheses have major problems. These problems are avoided if the Chinese report is a concatenation of two events in the same region of the sky, the first being a nova and the second being a comet. In fact, one of the brightest and most famous comets (Comet P/Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteor shower that will have a near approach to Earth on 2126 August 5) had a rare favorable apparition with a disappearance at the correct time and place as reported. © 1995 American Astronomical Society.

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Astronomical Journal

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