Archive for the ‘Nova’ Category

01/13/2017 – Ephemeris – Perhaps we’ll see a nova in 5 years, 2022

January 13, 2017 Comments off

Jan 13.  This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, January 13th.  The Sun will rise at 8:16.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 5:26.  The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 7:12 this evening.

Professor Larry Molnar from Calvin College in my home town of Grand Rapids and his students discovered that a star, [KIC 9832227,] that was monitored by the Kepler exoplanet finding satellite in the northern constellation of Cygnus the Swan may explode in about 5 years.  The star is actually two so close that they share their outer atmospheres, someone described it as two peanuts in one shell.  The two orbit each other in 11 hours now, and the period is shortening at an accelerated rate as the two approach each other.  Astronomers think that it will repeat the fate of a star that exploded in 2008 in the constellation of Scorpius.  Such explosions, when seen are called Novae.  A Nova like this could make the star briefly 10,000 times brighter than it originally was. [Current magnitude is 12, which is visible in moderate sized (6″ or 150 mm) diameter telescopes.  10,000 times brighter equals a 10 magnitude bump, which would make the star 2nd magnitude.  Magnitudes are like golf scores the lower the magnitude the brighter the object.  Blame Hipparchus.]

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Note:  The text in brackets omitted in the broadcast.



Finder Chart

Finder Chart for KIC 9832227. It’s in the red bulls eye. Credit: Calvin College.

The position of KIC 9832227 is circumpolar or nearly so for northern Michigan.  So it’s up all or most of the 24 hour day, so no matter the time of year this baby blows, we should be able to see it.

What the star(s) may look like

Two computer generated views of KIC 9832227. The large star is about twice the Sun’s diameter, while the smaller star is a bit less than the Sun’s size. Credit: Calvin College.

For more information click here:


08/26/2013 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Delphinus the dolphin

August 26, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, August 26th.  The sun rises at 6:58.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 8:29.   The moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:22 this evening.

With Nova Delphinus in our skies let’s take a look at this celestial dolphin.  Located below the eastern edge of the Summer Triangle of three of the brightest stars in the sky, which is  overhead in our sky at 10 p.m., is the tiny constellation of Delphinus the dolphin. Delphinus’ 6 stars in a small parallelogram with a tail, really does look like a dolphin leaping out of the water. The parallelogram itself has the name Job’s Coffin. The origin of this asterism or informal constellation is unknown. Of the dolphin itself: the ancient Greeks appreciated this aquatic mammal as we do, and told stories of dolphins rescuing shipwrecked sailors.   The nova can be spotted in binoculars using the chart at or below.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


My finder chart for Nova Dephinus 2013

My finder chart for Nova Delphinus 2013. Created using Carte du Ceil (Sky Charts)

The dot for the Nova will show it brighter than it is.  It should be fading now.

08/20/2013 – Ephemeris – A “new” star in Delphinus

August 20, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 20th.  The sun rises at 6:51.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 8:39.  The moon, at full today, will rise at 8:07 this evening.

There’s a new nova visible to the unaided eye, well just barely, if the moon wasn’t out.  “New nova” is kind of redundant because Nova is Latin for new,  The entire Latin term is Nova Stellum or new star.  It isn’t really a new star, but one that brightened catastrophically, siphoning gas off a companion red giant star.  At least that’s what we think.   Detailed analysis will come later.  It’s informal name is Nova Delphinus, which lies between the tiny constellation of Delphinus the dolphin and Sagitta the arrow in and near the Summer Triangle. has a finder chart.  It’s best to use binoculars to locate it.  The Arrow points right to it, while the two stars that cross the body of the dolphin also point to it.  Novae are unusual, but not rare.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


My finder chart for Nova Dephinus 2013

My finder chart for Nova Dephinus 2013. Created using Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts)

The Summer Triangle July 5, 2012 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellaruim and The Gimp.

The Summer Triangle with Delphinus and Sagitta. Created using Stellarium and The Gimp.