V.S. Imshennik Russian Federation State Scientific Center ‘A.I. Alikhanov Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics’, ul. Bolshaya Cheremushkinskaya 25, Moscow, 117259, Russian Federation
Since ancient times (14th century BC), the so called ’new stars’ and ’guest stars’ — now known as supernova explosions, the strongest star explosions according to current views — have attracted the attention of man. The observed behavior of these stars was recorded most systematically in Chinese chronicles. In the present paper, age estimates for our galaxy’s youngest (within the past millennium) supernova remnants are attempted using the simplest means of modern theoretical astrophysics. In most (five out of seven) cases such estimates are found to agree to within 100 years with their recorded dates, while in the two remaining cases a more elaborate analysis removes the significant differences obtained. The presence of pulsars in supernova remnants suggests alternative, independent approaches to supernova age estimation. The major conclusion is that the astrophysical determination of the age of the recorded supernova explosions confirms their historical chronology over the last 1200 years at least.