Lawrence sent me a link on this and it has been around several blogs and web sites as well as mainstream sources. The full article is available in pdf format at http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/01/08/mnras.sts378.fu… … and here we have a new theory to account for the spike in 775/6, previously attributed to a very big solar flare and then discounted as it was too big by far. We then had a dilution of the size of the solar flare, jiggery pokery or otherwise. Now we have the latest idea – it was not a supernova event as nobody actually saw it (or recorded anything out of the ordinary) and so the authors suggest it must have been a short gamma-ray burst. The absence of historical reports of anything resembling a giant solar flare, prodigious auroral phenomenal, or a supernova lies at the heart of why this paper was conceived in the first place. However, it is interesting in another way that might interest SIS members in that the event may have been recorded in another year if early medieval chronology is out – even by just a few years. In one of those surprises I came across a comment at http://cosmictusk.com/the-tusk-comments-better-than-blog/ … and scroll down to 5.07pm January 21st, and a post by Jonny. He notes that Roger of Wendover gave for the year 776 the appearance in the heavens of a red cross – and wonderfuls serpents were seen in the land of the South Saxons (Sussex). Roger also says of 794, some 18 years later, that in that year there were dreadful prodigies that terrified the nation (England), fearful thunderbolts and fiery dragons were seen passing through the air (sounds like a meteor shower)and foreboding a mighty famine and dreadful slaughter of the people (an omen).
He seems to suggest this phenomena shortly preceded the appearance of Vikings raising havoc in Northumbria, particularly at Lindisfarne (killing monks and setting fire to monasteries).
The A/Saxon Chronicle says of 793 – in this year dire portents appeared over Northumbria. They consisted of immense whirlwinds and flashes of lightning and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air (auroral phenomena?). A bit later, the reavers of heathens (the Vikings) destroyed God's church in Lindisfarne – with plunder and slaughter. While all this is interesting in that the idea the Vikings, or Berserkers, inflamed by the phenomena in the sky, went on the warpath, somewhat like the fianna (followers of the god Finn in Ireland) is worth exploring, if possible, what immediately sticks out is that 18 year difference and the resemblance it has to the discrepancy Steve Mitchell has found in various chronologies of the 7th century in his articles on Bede and his sources in the pages of SIS.