Near-Earth supernova activity during the past 35 Myr

Mads Sørensen*, Henrik Svensmark, Uffe Gråe Jørgensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Here we combine observations of open clusters (OCs) with single- and binarypopulation synthesis models and a Galactic potential to reconstruct the SN activityof these OCs during the past 35 Myr. We find that several OCs potentially hostingSN progenitors have passed within 100 pc of the Sun during the past 35 Myr. Inparticular we find that ASCC 19, NGC 1981, and NGC 1976 are likely to have hostedone or more SNe while passing within 200 pc of the solar system in the period 17- 12 Myr BP which might have affected Earths’ geology and climate. Besides thestellar history of the individual OCs we also compute 1) a spatial and temporal 2D-probability density map showing the most likely position and time of SN from oursample of OCs within 1 kpc during the past 35 Myr, 2) the time series of the SN rateper volume and 3) the relative SN rate compared with today and corrected for OCevaporation of older generations. The SN rate today from core collapse is estimatedto be 37.8±6.1 kpc−3Myr−1. During the past 35 Myr we find a peak SN rate around 10Myr before present (BP) where the rate was 40% higher relative to the past 1 Myr.Finally we discuss possible effects of binary stellar evolution in relation to the historyof SN production in the solar neighbourhood and the detected 60Fe signal in terrestrialgeological samples induced between ∼2.2 - 2.8Myr BP.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Astronomical Society. Monthly Notices
Number of pages14
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020


  • Stellar evolution
  • Open Clusters
  • Milky Way
  • Binary stars
  • Super- nova
  • Astrobiology

Cite this

Sørensen, M., Svensmark, H., & Jørgensen, U. G. (2020). Near-Earth supernova activity during the past 35 Myr. Manuscript submitted for publication.