On Aug 14, a nova erupted in the constellation of Delphinus. Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata was the first to image the apparent nova. As of last night (Aug 15), it seemed to have brightened since its discovery. It appeared surprisingly bright in binoculars and spectacular through a 114mm refractor. How bright it will get is hard to know yet, but the new object is estimated at magnitude 6.0, which makes it viewable with binoculars and right at the naked eye limit for observers under dark skies.
Look for it in the skies tonight!
A nova is an explosion on a star otherwise too faint to see and occurs in a close binary star system, where a white dwarf grabs hydrogen gas from a closely orbiting companion star. After swirling about in a disk around the dwarf, the hydrogen gas is funneled down to the star’s 150,000 degree F surface where gravity compacts and heats it until it explodes. Suddenly, the nova becomes a standout “new star.”
Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff