Observing Alert: Possible Nova in Ophichus


Are you ready for some excitement that won’t take an observatory telescope to spot? Then get out your binoculars, because according to CBET 2128 there’s a new object showing its stuff off in the constellation Ophiuchus…

Released by A. Henden in AAVSO Special Notice #187: “CBET 2128 indicates that Hideo Nishimura has discovered a new outbursting object in Ophiuchus. This object has magnitude 8.4 on Jan 15.857UT, and is located at RA 17:39:40.94 DEC -21:39:47.9 J2000. No spectra have been reported, but K. Kadota has inspected the 1997 DSS red plate and finds no object at this position, with a limiting magnitude of 20. This object has now been added to VSX. You may submit observations as N Oph 2010, VSX J173940.9-213947, or with AUID 000-BJS-899. Note that there is a 10.3 magnitude irregular variable a few arcmin west of this position, so do not use it as a comparison star.”

Information on submitting observations to the AAVSO may be found at: http://www.aavso.org/observing/submit/. However, even if you don’t choose to submit an observation, it’s rather rare that an object of this type can easily be observed with even the most modest of equipment. Magnitude 8.4 is easily within reach of small binoculars, and given that most of the world isn’t having the best of luck with weather, you may be one of only a few who get to see it! Use this map to get you in the general area….

Once you have your position in the sky, use this more localized map to help you identify the nova. This field spans approximately 12 degrees – or about the same size as an average binocular field. I’ve filtered the stars to match the magnitude, so look for any star that’s as bright as – or brighter – than what you see within or very near to the red square area. You’ve discovered the nova! (Hint: Look for obvious star patterns that are easy to see, like the group of stars that seems to resemble Orion’s belt and sword just below the target area.) It might take you several tries and several minutes to locate it, but what a reward when you do!

Enjoy your observations….

3 Replies to “Observing Alert: Possible Nova in Ophichus”

  1. Had a quick look with Sky Map Pro and it seems that the “possible nova” will not clear the murk on the horizon until circa 0700 UT, also it starts to get light at 0615 UT here in the UK. Therefore even a 8.4 mag star would be hard to spot.

    So IVAN3MAN needs to move as well as wait for clear skies.

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