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《Acta Astronomica Sinica》 1955-02
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A NEW CATALOGUE OF ANCIENT NOVAE

HSI TZE-TSUNG (Commission of the History of Chinese Natural Sciences, Academia Sinica)  
In the last thirty years, astronomers have relied mainly on Lundmark's article published in P. A. S. P. Vol. 33, p. 225, 1921 for information on Chinese records of ancient novae. His list of sixty ancient novae is still in use even now in connection with the identification of radio point sources with supernovae, but it is incomplete and has some errors. Lundmark got his information mainly from Biot and Williams' work, whereas Biot and Williams relied almost entirely on Ma Tuan-Lin's "Wen Hsian T'ung K'ao," which is good but by no means a complete summary of the astronomical records in Chinese annals. For example, No. 5 (64' A. D.) in Lundmark's list should be a comet instead of a nova, because in the Annals it was described as being "eight feet long" (about twenty degrees). Likewise, Nos. 6, (66 A. D.), 23 (684 A. D.), and 32 (962 A. D.), in the same list were all actually comets, and not novae. There are evidences to prove that Nos. 26, 27, and 28 (837 A. D.) were records of the same comet (Fig. 1.). For the purpose of remedying the above-mentioned shortcomings and adapting to the present need of cosmogony and radio astronomy, we have since the spring of 1954, made investigations of the novae data available in the Chinese history. With the aid of these data, a new datalogue comprising 90 naked-eye novae has been compiled. Among them the nova of 29 A. D. and that of 911 A. D. have exactly the same description of position in the Chinese annals (near α Her). So do the nova of 204 B. C. and that of 575 A. D. (near Arturus). Possibly they are two recurrent novae. In this catalogue one can further find eleven supernovae, seven of which have made appearance earlier or later in the past 1,000 years, that is to say, one in every 150 years on the average. This shows a greater frequency as compared with the previous estimates. After the compilation of this new catalogue of ancient novae, we have worked out statistics of apparent distribution of 61 ancient novae which have each a comparatively definite location. It is found that these novae are noticeably concentrated in galactic latitude towards the galactic plane. Though in galactic longitude they are not found to concentrate towards the galactic centre, yet it is possibly due to the fact that the novae appearing in the vicinity of the South Pole are invisible in China.
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