Wednesday, May 2, 2018

v392 persei!

This was the first clear-ish night since V392 Persei, a dwarf nova, was possible to be viewed from my backyard since going into nova outburst a couple days ago.  Usually it only gets to 14v magnitude during outburst, but this time it became as bright as 6v. *

I started to look after 9am using 8x56 binoculars and had trouble finding the right star to hop from based on my AAVSO chart.  I did eventually find the correct field, with a wide triangle of stars to the north.  I did not see the nova for a while, but did glimpse it at around 9:45 with averted vision.  It did become dark enough for a few minutes to be more steadily held with averted vision, but it was quickly setting into Oakland's light dome.  I estimated the magnitude as around 8.1v.  Looking up some observations online, this seems to conform to what others are seeing.  Pretty awesome to see this, considering what is happening.

It should be clear again tomorrow and I'll give it another try, this time using my 10-inch Springsonian, since the star is hidden behind the neighbor's yew tree from where my 12.5-inch is mounted.... 

* "Only once in the history of dwarf novae observations has a star (V1213 Cen) transitioned to a nova. In a nova, material from the disk gets dumped onto the surface of the white dwarf, where it's compressed and heated to ignite in a much more powerful (and brighter) explosion. V392 Per shot up nearly 9 magnitudes and may brighten even more. Eruptions like this are predicted to recur on timescales of 10,000 to 1 million years."

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