Western Australian amateur astronomer Andrew Pearce has discovered a possible nova (PNV J17581670-2914490) in Sagittarius on April 4. At that time its visual magnitude was around 8.8.
Andrew reported in a message to Variable Stars South today that the object has been classified via spectroscopy as a classical nova.
The nova’s visual magnitude is currently around 8 or a little brighter. As always with these objects, it will be interesting to see how bright it gets.
Here is a finder chart suitable for binoculars (something of a challenge at the current brightness in 7x50s):
Rotating this finder chart a bit more than 90 degrees anti-clockwise will roughly match this image from Stellarium at around midnight AEST.
Zooming out gives more positional context:
Further out still shows even more familiar landmarks in Sagittarius and Scorpius.
I have yet to observe or image the nova but hope to do so over the next few days.
EDIT: After writing this I went out and had an initial look at the area. It was after midnight and the nova was in a good position from my backyard. I was just able to glimpse it in 7×50 binoculars but not well enough to make an estimate. So I took a few quick untracked shots of the region from which it appears that it’s probably around magnitude 7.8 (visual) which is consistent with what I glimpsed through binoculars.
I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few nights and hopefully take some better images.
EDIT: the weather did not improve early enough while the nova was still bright enough for me to observe.