New Nova excites amateur astronomers

 Image courtesy AstronomyNow

Image courtesy AstronomyNow

 Diagram courtesy NASA

Diagram courtesy NASA

A new nova appeared in the constellation Delphinus on August 14.  If you know where to look and you are away from city lights, you should be able to see it without optical aid. 

This is the brightest nova visible for many years.  Amateur astronomers are observing it every day and estimating its brightness. 

A nova occurs in a two star system like the one in the diagram above. Hydrogen streams from the larger Sun-like star to the smaller White dwarf.  Over time, the material collects until there is an explosion and the white dwarf increases in brightness 100,000 times or more.   

 To find the nova, use the constellations Delphinius or Sagitta as guides.

To find the nova, use the constellations Delphinius or Sagitta as guides.

This process can repeat - over a period of a few years or 100,000 years.

To find the nova, find the bright star Altair - the lower bright star in the Summer Triangle. From Altair, using binoculars from within the city, find the constellations Delphinius and Sagitta. We found the nova very easily using Sagitta as an arrow pointing right at the nova. (Sagitta is actually a constellation depicting an arrow) 

The nova is currently a little brighter than the star marked 5.7 on the diagram.  

Below is an image of  the nova as seen from Mississauga.

 Nova Delphinii 2013 is in the centre of this image, taken by Andrew Opala in Mississauga. 

Nova Delphinii 2013 is in the centre of this image, taken by Andrew Opala in Mississauga.