ISLAMABAD-Discovery of iron-60 and manganese-53 substantiates supernova 2.5 million years ago. When the brightness of the star Betelgeuse dropped dramatically a few months ago, some observers suspected an impending supernova – a stellar explosion that could also cause damage on Earth. While Betelgeuse has returned to normal, physicists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have found evidence of a supernova that exploded near the Earth around 2.5 million years ago. The life of stars with a mass more than ten times that of our sun ends in a supernova, a colossal stellar explosion. 

This explosion leads to the formation of iron, manganese, and other heavy elements. In layers of a manganese crust that are around two and a half million years old a research team led by physicists from the Technical University of Munich has now confirmed the existence of both iron-60 and manganese-53.” The increased concentrations of manganese-53 can be taken as the “smoking gun” – the ultimate proof that this supernova really did take place,” says first author Dr. Gunther Korschinek. While a very close supernova could inflict massive harm to life on Earth, this one was far enough away. It only caused a boost in cosmic rays over several thousand years.