Bright nova flares in the constellation of Hercules

UPDATED: A star has appeared in the constellation of Hercules that was not previously visible. It is the eruption of a nova, and became easy to see with binoculars.

The “new star”, which had the telephone-number style label of TCP J18573095+1653396, was discovered from Hokkaido, Japan, by Seiji Ued on June 12. SInce being confirmed as a nova, it has been given the designation V1674 Her.

He recorded its brightness as magnitude 8.4, but it continued to brighten and was sixth magnitude the following night. However, the nova had already faded a magnitude or so by the night of 13/14 June, and was reported to be ninth magnitude the following night.

It is very conveniently placed for observers, being in a dark sky in the east as twilight fades after sunset. Its position in the sky is: Right Ascension (RA) 18h 57m 30.98s Declination (Dec) +16° 53′ 39.6″ (J2000.0 co-ordinates).

As this places it less than 17° north of the celestial equator, it can be seen from all over the world. It became easily bright enough to be seen with binoculars, and can be photographed with an exposure of just a few seconds.

Though in Hercules, the nova is close to its border with the neighbouring constellation of Aquila. It lies between the stars epsilon Aquilae and 111 Herculis.

The nearest bright star is Altair, which forms part of the famous Summer Triangle with Vega and Deneb. Close to the nova is a compact asterism called the Coathanger.

No object brighter than 20th magnitude was to be found in the nova’s position prior to this discovery.

The discovery comes just three months after the appearance of another binocular nova in the constellation of Cassiopeia. That surprised observers by brightening to sixth magnitude in May.

Related: Your night sky this month

Related Posts