New Nova Delphini 2013 Naked Eye Visible!

Nova Del 2014

Credit: Gianluca Masi

UPDATE 8/19/13

The NOVA appears to have peaked at about magnitude 4.2 and has decreased but seems stable.


This plot from the AAVSO appears to show a decreasing trend indicating the NOVA may have reached peak brightness. We will continue to update as more data is gathered.

8/15/13 – On August 14th a new star explosion, Nova Delphini 2013, was discovered by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata, Japan. The nova is high up in the evening sky and now visible to the unaided eye.  Reports today indicate it is still brightening. How bright it will ultimately get is not know but you should get out and see this rare event if you can. At the time if it’s discovery it had a stellar brightness of +6.3, but it has continued to become more luminous. As of August 15th the Nova had a brightness of +5.2. For up to date brightness levels you can use this AAVSO link. Those with GOTO telescopes should use coordinates 20:23:30.7, +20:46:06 (J2000).

UPDATE 8/15/13

Hubble Finds Furthest Supernova

Artists concept of Nova. Credit NASA

Artists concept of Nova.
Credit NASA

A nova is not actually new star. They usually occur in binary/double stars containing a super dense white dwarf star orbiting with a normal sun-like star. The dwarf steals matter from its companion, heats and compresses it to high temperature and a thermonuclear explosion occurs. Unlike a supernove, a Nova can repeat as the eruption does not typically tear the star apart. For example RS Ophiuchi, is known to have flared six times (in 1898, 1933, 1958, 1967, 1985, and 2006

Astronomical Events for 2013

Nova Delphini  2013 is still getting brighter, it still has not peaked. Once it starts to dim a fast nova will typically take less than 25 days to decay by 2 magnitudes and a slow nova will take over 80 days. This will give you some time to get out and see this new “star” in the sky.

About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.