back to article 'New' nova starts to BLUSH

In early December, astroboffins got all excited when they spotted a 'new' nova visible with the naked eye. Nova Centauri 2013, as it was called, was only visible to folks in the southern hemisphere, but was bright enough that handheld cameras were able to spot the star. As expected, the star became progressively brighter, …


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  1. Gray Ham

    This of course was intended to highlight a truly significant event in the stables at Flemington (there being no room at the inn due to school holidays and the test match being on, etc etc).

    Unfortunately, it was largely missed, since the shepherds were all watching the cricket, and of course it was really, really hard to find 3 wise men in New Zealand...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having watched a documentary on that Russian meteor I now walk round with a safety helmet on my head. This story just adds to my anxiety.

      1. Wzrd1

        No need to hide behind Dark Helmet!

        Behold, I have an armed missile to defend us all.

        My heat seeking moisture missile is ready to take on all comers.

        Hmmm, perhaps that wasn't the best choice of words...

    2. Wzrd1

      "...and of course it was really, really hard to find 3 wise men in New Zealand..."

      And utterly impossible to find then in Australia.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    [Obi Wan Kenobi Quote]

    Where is that on the map of our 4-armed-and-barred-dark-matter-suffused old' galaxy?

    I sure hope there was no-one in the neighbourhood when that went off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: [Obi Wan Kenobi Quote]

      Hmmm. Yes.

      I'm finding plenty of references to where it is in the Earth's sky but no actual galactic-charts. Not even a distance estimate! Best locational info I could find was 3 hyperlinks down and that it is in the Milky Way galaxy, which is akin to telling me the missing TV remote is somewhere in Australia!

      I guess no-one on Earth is interested in the locations of things other than relative to our own little centre of the universe :-(

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: [Obi Wan Kenobi Quote]

        It looks like the distance isn't something that was immediately obvious. The initial reports seemed to take the trouble to mention that the distance isn't yet known and even as late as 22nd December someone felt it was worth tweeting a figure of 10,700 light-years. ( Then Christmas happened, so the infographics may turn up later this week.

        And in a sense, yes, the relative location (direction) is rather more important than the absolute location if you want to actually look at it, which astronomers probably do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The question is, was it a little explosion quite close to us or a super big one really far away?

      Space debris on the way anyone?

  3. Captain DaFt

    Obligatory Zoidberg

    Dr. Zoidberg: [voiceover] "As the candy hearts poured into the fiery quasar, a wondrous thing happened, why not. They vaporized into a mystical love radiation that spread across the universe, destroying many, many planets, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. But one planet was exactly the right distance to see the romantic rays but not be destroyed by them: Earth. So all over the world couples stood together in joy."

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Obligatory Zoidberg

      Fry: I've never seen a supernova blow up, but if it's anything like my old Chevy Nova, it'll light up the night sky.

      Oh, and have an upvote.

  4. Chris Miller

    Nova != Supernova

    The article appears confused on the matter.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Nova != Supernova

      You are right. This classified as Nova (but what type?)

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Nova != Supernova

        Vauxhall, SR-spec, with twin carbs and a Peco back box.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Mrister Nova Nova

      No, because this is "a" nova, which is then added to the listing of novae previously held, so it is, indeed, new.

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: 'New' nova.

      Not really.

      Consider the dwarf nova, which can flare repeatedly until it finally goes full nova.

      Or the cataclysmic variable, which does so in fine style.

  6. Graham Marsden

    Nova Centauri 2013

    Great Maker, Vir, the Vorlons have improved their Planet Killer!

    (Yes, the purple one, please and a glass of fine Brivari...)

  7. Richard Pennington 1

    Your article states that "If you're at about 38° S or even closer to the South Pole, you're a chance to see it near the southern cross before dawn.". This figure is incorrect.

    The nova's declination is about -59 degrees (i.e. 59 degrees south) so it will just touch the horizon for an observer at about 31 degrees north of the equator (neglecting atmospheric distortions, horizon obstructions, etc.); an observer at the Equator can easily see it. Southward of about 31 degrees south of the equator, the nova becomes circumpolar, so an observer can see it at any time of the night.

    1. Richard Pennington 1

      But not too close to the South Pole

      Southward of about 67 degrees south, the Sun becomes circumpolar at about this time of year, so the observer could not see the nova at all.

  8. Richard Pennington 1

    More info

    A quick search of the usual available-to-the public sources reveals the following extra information:

    Nova Centauri 2013 = V1369 Centauri, possibly identical to a 15th magnitude star seen before the nova event. There is no reliable distance estimate yet. The rise in brightness of about 12 magnitudes (from pre-event to peak) is a factor of about 10^5, and is fairly typical compared with other classical novae.

    The evidence so far suggests that the star is double, with one of the components being a white dwarf accreting mass from its partner.

    The primary peak brightness for classical novae is an absolute magnitude of about -8.8; the observed peak brightness of magnitude 3.3 gives a distance/extinction factor of 12.1 magnitudes. In the absence of extinction (absorption by dust clouds etc), this corresponds to a distance of about 8600 light-years.

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: More info

      That's assuming it's a classical nova and not a variable accreting to its final end.

      The "pinking" isn't very concerning, it's hydrogen getting excited. Something not really unusual after the outbursts involved with a red giant finally flashing.

      So, we'll await a lot more results of observations to see what was there, what remains there and what the spectra shows, from radio to gamma.

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