A new nova shines in Cygnus

Astronomers report the discovery of an erupting star temporarily designated PNV J20214234+3103296.
By | Published: April 1, 2014
Nova PNV J20214234+3103296 in Cygnus
This image taken using a 17-inch telescope shows the new nova, temporarily designated PNV J20214234+3103296, at 2h40m UT April 1.
Gianluca Masi/the Virtual Telescope Project
On March 31 at approximately 19h UT, two Japanese astronomers, Koichi Nishiyama, of Kurume and Fujio Kabashima of Miyaki, reported the discovery of a possible nova. The pair had seen the magnitude 10.9 object on two 40-second unfiltered exposures they captured with a CCD camera attached to a 105mm f/4 camera lens.

Approximately seven hours later, at 2h40m UT April 1, astronomers Gianluca Masi, Francesca Nocentini, and Patrick Schmeer at the Virtual Telescope Project imaged the region with a pair of remotely controlled telescopes. They provided optical and spectroscopic evidence that the new object was, indeed, a nova.

The object’s coordinates are 20h21m43s right ascension and 31°03’29” declination (equinox 2000.0). This position is roughly equidistant from two naked-eye stars: 39 Cygni, which shines at magnitude 4.4, and 41 Cygni, which glows slightly brighter at magnitude 4.0.