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Sunday, December 15, 2013


V1369 Nova Centauri 2013, 12th 13th brightest Nova since 1891

V1369 Nova Centauri 2013 just above beta Centauri at 4:05 am ACDST 15 December (17:35 Dec 14 UT). Stack of 10 images taken using a Canon IXUS, ASA 400, 10 second each exposure. Images registered and stacked with DeepSkyStacker, the converted to RGB and contrast adjusted in ImageJ. Click to embiggen (WARNING, very big file, around 40 Mb) Labelled expanded image taken using the Canon IXUS, ASA 400, 15 second exposure, 3x Zoom. Central portion of the image to the left, with magnitude comparison stars and the nova indicated. Click to embiggen.

Current lightcurve for V1369 Nova Centauri 2013 from the AAVSO.  click to embigen.

While watching this mornings Geminid meteor shower I got to see V1369 nova Centauri 2013 at a decent height above the horizon, making it easier to estimate the magnitude of the lovely nova.

Note I said "easier", not easy. Even at 4 am the nova is still close to the horizon with significant atmospheric extinction (see top left image).

By unaided eye it looked to be about the brightness of Beta Muscae (magnitude 3.54). When you factor in atmospheric extinction this means its real magnitude is on the order of 3.4.

I also measured the intensities of the star on my photographic images (refernce stars Epsilon Cent, 2.3, Eta Crucis, 3.58, Beta Musc 3.54, Alpha Cricinus, 3.16 and Lambda Cent, 3.1) and did a linear regression. This gave a magnitude of 3.2 for the nova. This is a bit on the high side (star brightness on digital images do not always reflect their V magnitude), but makes me confident my estimate of 3.4 is in the right ball park.

This is consistent with other observers who found that the nova was around magnitude 3.4 at this time, coming down from a peak of 3.3 at 0 UT.

This makes V1369 Nova Centauri the brightest nova since 1999 (V382 Velorum, M2.6), and the 12th 13th brightest nova since 1891! (turns out there is a recuurent Nova that I missed)A good article on nova Centauri 2013 is here.

1918 V603 Aquilae-1.4
1901 GK Persei0.2
1942 CP Puppis0.3
1925 RR Pictoris1.2
1934 DQ Herculis1.4
1975 V1500 Cygni1.7
1920 V476 Cygni2
1936 CP Lacertae2.1
1999 V382 Velorum2.6
1960 V446 Herculis2.8
1946 T Coronae Borealis3
1963 V533 Herculis3
1912 DN Geminorum3.5

This means that Nova Centauri 2013 will be visibel to the unaided eye for some time yet, go have a look!

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