From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Bright Nova, As Course, PM event, Comet Ison, MAVEN, MSA Error, Kate R, Events..

Date: 16 August 2013 21:56:25 BST

Hi all,


1. The Brightest Nova for many years has been discovered in Delphinus. Just below naked-eye visibility when discovered, some later reports put it at around mag 6: just on the limit for human eyes in good conditions. It may still be brightening slightly, though it's more likely that it will be starting to fade a bit.

   A nova is not a 'new' star, as the name would imply: it's just a faint star (almost always a member of a close binary pair) which undergoes an explosion (putting it simply) which increases its brightness by about 8 - 10 magnitudes, or about a factor of 2,000 to 10,000 times brighter. See

   It's in the NW corner of the small but conspicuous constellation Delphinus, near its borders with Vulpecula and Sagitta. It is on the edge of naked-eye visibility but easy in binoculars. It was discovered at magnitude 6.3 by Koichi Itagaki, Yamagata, Japan, using a 0.18-metre reflector and a CCD camera.

    The position is 20h 23m 30.7s; +20d 46m 04.1s. An image by Itagaki can be found at: You'll really need a star chart to locate it (I can email one on request), but if you extend the line from Delta through Alpha Del for about 5 times its own length that will take you very close to it. Also see:

   Nothing was visible in the location in frames imaged a day earlier. Patrick Schmeer (Bischmisheim, Germany) recorded it at magnitude 6.0 using 20x80 binoculars, last night. 

   I well remember seeing my first nova, also in Delphinus, in 1967, discovered visually by the amazing English amateur George Alcock. He rang Patrick Moore (then in Armagh of course), giving the position in RA & Dec, and as we were due to be observing at Armagh Observatory that night anyway, we plotted its position on Norton's Star Atlas, and spotted it right away in our binocs, and then naked-eye. Designated HR Del, it was an amazing nova, and was still visible to the unaided eye over a year later. In fact, when George Alcock discovered another nova, In Vulpecula, over a year later, HR Del was still visible to the naked eye: I believe that was the only time that TWO novae were visible to the unaided eye simultaneously.



2. ASTRONOMY COURSES RESUME AT STRANMILLIS. Due to popular demand (yes, really!), my astronomy courses at Stranmillis are to be continued this autumn. The new series will build on what the last course covered, but with a more practical content, including on-site observing where possible. It's not necessary for anyone to have attended the first course, as no (or very little) prior knowledge will be assumed.

   The course will run for 10 weeks on Tuesday evenings, starting on 10 September, with a break on 29 October, resuming on 5 November, and finishing on 19 November.

 For details see the Stranmillis Lifelong Learning section website,396223,en.pdf, go to p 23 for my course.

You can download an enrolment form at,231524,en.pdf

Please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested. 


3. Patrick Moore Event, Leicester:

On 28 September 2013 the Royal Astronomical Society, in collaboration with the National Space Centre, will be holding an event to commemorate Sir Patrick Moore and celebrate his life and legacy. The event will be held at the National Space Centre, Leicester, and tickets (which must be booked in advance) will cost £25.

Further details, along with a booking link, may be found at:

4. COMET ISON - LATEST: This much-anticipated comet has just been observed for the first time since its 'conjunction' with the Sun. Early indications are that it has not brightened as much as expected in the interval. But as it is just crossing the 'snow/frost line', where water ices should start to sublimate, creating more of a coma and tail and increasing the brightness, it may be just a 'late developer'. We will just have to wait a bit longer to see. It will be best seen from Ireland in late November, and in early December if it survives its extremely close passage round the Sun.



5. Send your name to Mars on MAVEN: Deadline September 10th 2013. Everybody is welcome to participate! However, to create a log-in you must be 18 or older. If you are under 18 and you would like to enter, please ask your parent or teacher for help. Your name will be written to a DVD and sent into Mars orbit on the MAVEN spacecraft. See:

For the latest news on the Maven mission, see


6. Error in Millennium Star Atlas. IAA member Danny Collins has spotted a double error on p 121 of the gigantic MSA. At the top of this page is an area of overlap with the bottom of p.100; both pages showing the variable stars V560 and UY (separate constellations, but they are both on the same page). The images on p 121 show the stars MUCH brighter than they should be. The correct mags are as shown on p. 100.


7. IAA member Dr KATE RUSSO's AWARD. Update: see attached file.


8. EVENTS AT ARMAGH PLANETARIUM: See The Emerald Garrison’s amazing Heroes & Legends event is coming back to Armagh Planetarium on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August 2013.


9. EVENTS AT BLACKROCK CASTLE OBSERVATORY: for details of the latest events at Blackrock Castle Observatory, including how to use the remotely controlled TARA telescope.


10. PICS FOR NEW IAA WEBSITE PHOTO GALLERY. President and webmaster Paul Evans has produced an excellent new photo gallery on the updated IAA website. See  We would love to have any photos from members showing past IAA events and activities for a "Pics from the Archive" section. Credits will be given to respective owners of course. 

11. INTERESTING WEBLINKS: (they can't get rid of infinity! If they do, where will parallel lines meet???? (as I was taught in school!)^headlines (She looks as if she has already ventured too close to a Black Hole, and been stretched (spaghettified) a little already!)  (Some of these seem odd. Those by Cody Limber and Guy Strong show lots of meteors not coming from the Perseid radiant - too many, perhaps? Especially as these are 2 of the 3 images which show most meteors in a single 'frame'.) (I'm glad to say that 16693 Moseley is not among them! And don't be getting any such ideas in the future, either. Mine is not for mining!)


12. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter:  at signIaaAstro


13. NEW LINK! JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA.

    If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the 'gift-aid' box, as that enables us to reclaim the standard rate of tax on your subscription, at no cost to youYou can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button.  See also


Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842

I'm now back on Twitter, after some temporary hiccups: at signterrymoseley2