Science & Astronomy
17. August 2013

Yesterday’s Weekly Space Hangout had a report about a new nova that had suddenly appeared near the constellation Delphinus – I hadn’t heard about it before because I somehow missed the first great article on Universe Today and was really surprised when David Dickinson said that it would be at an easily viewable magnitude of somewhere between +4 and +5. Now, I have to admit that I am actually a very lousy amateur astronomer and until recently was always struggling to even recognize star constellations in the sky, but I have gotten steadily better at it. But my first reaction was to wonder if I would even be able to find the nova, let alone see it!

While the Perseids were a near-complete failure this year for us, thanks to the star charts provided by Universe Today and some very basic detective work by myself which mainly consisted of locating the constellation Delphinus in the first place, I was actually able see the nova (which is just a nova, not a supernova) with my own eyes just with the aid of my trusty old 8×40 binoculars. The problem was that I would never have recognized it as the nova because it just looks like another star when you look at it through binoculars – only after some intense star chart checking I was absolutely sure I had really found it It’s a case of “one star too many” and if you are not really familiar with this portion of the sky you would never come to the idea that something appeared that wasn’t there before.

So, this was my first nova sighting and I’m really happy I saw it, even if it was just another pinpoint of light. Perhaps I would even have managed to take a photo – if my camera can pick up the Andromeda Galaxy, a magnitude 4 nova should be no problem! But before I was able to set up the camera, the clouds came and for this reason, this article doesn’t have an image attached. I will try again tonight to at least see it, but for better images I recommend you go to the Universe Today article!

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