Monday, 19 March 2007


A fairly bright Nova has been discovered in Cygnus by Akihiko Tago in Japan on the evening of March 15 at magnitude 7.4. Another estimate next evening indicated a magnitude of 6.7. It may still be brightening or may have already reached maximum, so observe it if you can. At around 7th magnitude, it's within easy reach of binoculars, but it lies in the Milky Way so it's in a crowded starfield, and may not be that easy to identify at first.
A nova is a star, usually a member of a close binary system where one star is accreting material from another, and undergoes a a colossal explosion, blowing off the outer layers of the star, increasing its brightness by may thousands of times.
This nova is circumpolar in Ireland, but it it's quite low when at lower culmination (due North). It's best seen later in the night: by midnight it will be 10-14 degrees up (depending on your latitude) in the NNE. Its position is:
R.A: 20h 28m 12.5s
Dec: +41 deg, 48' 36.5" (2000.0 co-ordinates)
I'll send a map out separately shortly for those of you without deep star atlases or a PC sky programme

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