NON-SUPER NOVA IN THE CONSTELLATION DELPHINUS; CHECK IT OUT!
Illustration by: Universe Today and created with Stellarium.
Hopefully by now you have all heard of the bright new Nova cataloged as PNV J20233073+2046041 and dubbed Nova Delphini 2013. Below I have listed some articles to help you locate the event as easy as possible. Now, let’s get some basics out of the way; the term “nova” isn’t a snappy way of saying supernova, it’s actually different all together.
Discovered by Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata, Japan on the 14th of August at an apparent magnitude of 6.8, Nova Delphini 2013 has reached a naked eye apparent magnitude of 4.5 (That’s in the top 35 ALL-TIME) and over the next few nights will likely begin to fade. Located in the constellation Delphinus at the J2000 coordinates of RA: 20h 23m 30.0s DEC: 20° 46′ 06″. You can use the constellation of Sagitta (The Arrow) to literally almost point you right to it. There’s no way to tell what’s next for this event but I’d get out and see this object ASAP.
A nova occurs when a white dwarf star in a binary star system begins to rip hydrogen gas from its partner. As it does so, that material builds up on its surface and becomes denser. Eventually over hundreds or thousands of years that pressure thus, heat, builds to a point where a fusion reaction takes place, not in the core but at the surface of the star. Typically these events host stars brighten a few magnitudes as the flash takes place over a few days. Basically it’s a 360 degree star sized, shaped charged, nuclear bomb as that shell of material explodes off of the stars surface. That’s not where the story ends however; the white dwarf under this event remains intact and will likely begin the process over again, perhaps many times over.
A supernova is different because as the star (In the same style binary system) pulls material onto itself it fails to clear the material from its surface (Like the nova does) and it reaches the Chandrasekhar limit (1.4 solar masses) and the star detonates completely as a type-1a supernova (We know these as Standard Candles).
Sky & Telescope article: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/Bright-Nova-in-Delphinus-219631281.html
Current light data: http://www.aavso.org/lcg/plot?auid=000-BLC-933&starname=NOVA%20DEL%202013&lastdays=30&start=2456518.157746227&stop=2456531.157746227&obscode=&obscode_symbol=2&obstotals=yes&calendar=calendar&forcetics=&grid=on&visual=on&r=on&bband=on&v=on&pointsize=1&width=800&height=450&mag1=&mag2=&mean=&vmean=
SPACE.Com article: http://www.space.com/22389-nova-star-explosion-delphinus-discovery.html
Encyclopedia of Science definition of a NOVA: http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/N/nova.html
Sky map location for binocular users: http://binocularsky.com/binoc_transient.php
Some more details on different types of stars: http://outreach.atnf.csiro.au/education/senior/astrophysics/variable_types.html
Nova vs. Supernova NASA’s Ask an Astrophysicist page: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/980202c.html
Nova Delphini in APOD: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130816.html
Virtual Telescope Live Event Viewing: http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2013/08/16/nova-delphini-2013-online-observing-session-19-aug-2013/
SLOOH Space Camera Live Event Viewing: http://events.slooh.com/