Brief glimpses of Nova Cen 2013 (now V1369 Cen) through cloud

AAVSO visual observer Michael Linnolt had this to say on an AAVSO forum a short time ago:

Even here in the southernmost tip of Hawaii (19N) This nova rises too late in morning twilight to be readily visible. I suppose from the summit of Mauna Kea, with the perfect horizon and clarity above the clouds, it may be possible, but I’m not going to drive all the way up there just for this (2.5 hrs by road and 14000ft high!)

That drive to Mauna Kea would be a bit much. At least all I have to do is step out into my backyard. ;)

But then there are clouds to contend with…


That doesn’t look so bad now does it? Hmm…

I caught brief, tantalising glimpses of V1369 Cen near dawn (around 5:05 am Adelaide time and for 20 minutes or so thereafter) through thinning cloud with 7×50 binoculars.

It was, of course, clear soon after sunrise…


The nova seemed brighter than yesterday morning but I cannot quantify that since I couldn’t see more than one comparison star and the nova for long enough to be able to make an estimate. I briefly spotted bet Mus and the nova within a few seconds of each other and the nova was certainly less than beta Mus (<3.045). So, all I can declare is that V1369 Cen was brighter than my Dec 4 observation (which was >4.33) and fainter than magnitude 3.045. 

Jonathon Powles and another observer in Canberra estimated V1369 Cen at around magnitude 3.5 this morning.

I spent time last night looking for additional sufficiently bright comparison stars and talking with Sebastian Otero about this since we seem to have run out of them! VSP has some limits in that regard.


The screenshot above shows some of the comparison stars as circled (from Sky Safari on an iPad).

The forecast for tomorrow is less dismal, so I’ll try again then.

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