Wednesday, August 14, 2013

ALERT! Bright (Mag 6!) Nova in Delphinus

Location of Nova Delphinus 2013 as seen looking north from Adelaide at 10:00 pm local time.The location is marked with a square. Similar views will be seen at the equivalent local time in other Southern Hemisphere locations. Click to embiggen.Black and White map suitable for printing at a scale useful for binoculars, view from the Southern hemisphere, click to embiggen. A high definition PDF map that is better for printing is here.

Via Patrick Patrick Schmeer, a  magnitude 6 nova has been discovered  in Delphinus
This nova has now been idependetly confirmed and is currently around magnitude 6.1 (Rfiltered mag) and picked up in binoculars. Image here.
Location R.A. = 20 23 30.68, Decl.= +20 46 03.7 (J2000 coordinates)

While bright enough to bee seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions most people will need binoculars to see it. PDF map here.

UPDATE: Got it in binoculars (too much light pollution for the unaided eye). At least magnitude 6 with 10x50 binoculars, will need to wait until it is a little higher for a more accurate magnitude determination.

Stellarium simulation of the view through binoculars (actually this is equivalent to a few binocular fields stitched together for ease of explanation). The cross is the location of the nova. click to embiggenSimulation with lines drawn in to help find the nova, click to embiggen.

At magnitude 6 (or so)the nova is readily visible if you know where to look, but is a bit non-descript. It's best to hunt it with a printout of this binocular location Map in your hand (use a torch with red cellophane over the end to not destroy you night vision, wait at least 5 minutes before searching so your eyes accommodate to the dark). However, this desription may help you find it in binoculars as well.

This description will work for between 9-10 pm, local time. Facing north, the brightest star above the northern horizon is Altair (see top chart above, Vega is brighter but is off to the north-west and low to the horizon). Alitair is easily recognisable by the two dim stars that flank it either side. below Altair by around a hand-span is a straight line of dimmer, but easily recognisable stars. This is Sagitta.

Below and to the right of Altair (and to the right of Sagitta) is a tear-drop shaped group of stars. this is Delphinus. If you draw an imaginary line along Sagitta towards the horiozn, and an imaginary line form the two middle stars of the tear-drop of Delphinus westward, then where the two lines meet is close by the nova.

Aim you binoculars towards this intersecting point. thorugh the binoculars you will see two brightish stars. the one down the bottom has a second dimer star to the left of it, the one up the top is the nova (again, consult the maps for guidance, it may need several back and foths for you to be sure you have seen it).

Magnitude comparison charts are here


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