Nova Aquila II/1999


John McConnell
  Maghaberry, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Photo Title
  Nova Aquila II/1999
Time and Date taken
  3rd December 1999 1835UT
Equipment used
  Homemade clock drive
Capturing device used
  Olympus OM1
Technical details
  f1.8, ISO800 with 2 minute exposure

These images were taken showing Nova Aquila II/1999 (arrowed) on two consecutive nights, the 3rd and 4th December 1999. They were taken almost exactly twenty-four hours apart and show how the Nova dimmed in that time. Image one was taken on December 3rd 1999 at 18.35UT and image two 18.47UT on December 4th. Both were two-minute exposures on ISO E100S-slide film, Canon A1 50mm 1.8 lens mounted on a home made clock drive. The Nova reached peak brightness on the 3rd at mag 4.1 so was easily visible to the naked eye. Although I noticed no colour, some other observers said they noticed a strong orange hue.

The second image, that taken on the 4th shows how the Nova had dimmed about ¾ of a magnitude by the following evening. Owing to its position, it was estimated to be out in one of the spiral arms of our galaxy, which means that the star in “trouble” was probably around 16th magnitude, as it rose about 12 magnitudes in brightness! Only a few images were taken, as in the end I was defeated by cloud and the cold!

Altair is the bright star left of centre, with Delphinus upper left. Notice the star fields in this area made up of “young” blue stars!

I was grateful to Terry Moseley of the IAA for confirming the magnitudes, and to Melvyn Snelgrove of CPS Laboratories for professionally scanning the slides. No other alterations were made.


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