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Neuhäuser, Ralph; Rada, Wafiq; Kunitzsch, Paul; Neuhäuser, Dagmar L. (2016): Arabic Reports about Supernovae 1604 and 1572 in Rawh al-Ruh by (c)Isa b. Lutf Allah from Yemen. In: Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 47: pp. 359-374
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Abstract

We present Arabic texts about supernovae SN 1572 and SN 1604. The short observational reports were found in the Yemeni history book entitled Rawh al-Ruh written by (c)Isa b. Lutf Allah b. al-Mutahhar. The text about SN 1604 specifies the location of a new star at the beginning of the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius, consistent with SN 1604 in the constellation of Ophiuchus. It was observed in fall A.D. 1604 for some 40days (probably limited by its heliacal setting after around A.D. 1604 22 November). The object is called a najm (star) of the nayzik (transient celestial objects), from which we can conclude that it was a tailless and/or stationary new star (rather than, e.g., a comet). It was specified to be as (large/bright as) Jupiter, consistent with the supernova in A.D. 1604 October and November The text confirms other reports about SN 1604. Furthermore, a short text reports a new star (najm) in the north-east, larger than Venus, observed in the year A.H. 980 (A.D. 1572 May to 1573 May), connected to the death of a leader on A.D. 1572 9 +/- 2 November;this could well be SN 1572, otherwise observed to be as bright as Venus since A.D. 1572 6 November. These new findings may indicate that more Yemeni reports about Galactic supernovae can be uncovered. The description of the new star of A.D. 1604 as najm (star) of the nayzik (transient celestial objects) and of the comet of A.D. 1577 as "a star [najm] ... of the nayzik, with a tail ... with a visible movement" shows that the author distinguished between cometary and star-like transient celestial objects.