Delphinus Nova And Comet ISON Update Aug. 17

Nova Delphini 2013 photographed through a 12-inch scope on Aug. 16. Credit: Efrain Morales Rivera

I caught Nova Delphini 2013 again in binoculars between clouds last night fading a bit to magnitude 5.0. That’s about where it’s at this morning the 17th according to the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers) website. That puts it a half mag. fainter than yesterday morning’s peak.

Novae can fade away quickly or jump up and down in brightness for some time, so if you’re thinking it might be on its way out this soon, have hope. Either way, this remarkable object bears close watching in binoculars.

If you’d like to contribute your observations of the nova’s brightness to science for use by professional astronomers when they research on the nova, I highly recommend joining the AAVSO. I’ve been a member since 1982 and it’s been a blast. Literally. My favorites stars are dwarf novae that pop off regularly and unannounced like the fireworks that still rattle my neighborhood long after the 4th of July. Click HERE to apply for membership.

A very faint Comet ISON photographed early this morning Aug. 17 at the start of twilight. Credit: Michael Jaeger

How about Comet ISON? Michael Jaeger, Austrian amateur astronomer and astrophotographer extraordinaire, took a photo of it just this morning (Aug. 17) when the comet was just 3 degrees above the horizon at the start of morning twilight. He estimated its brightness at magnitude 13, indicating that ISON continues to lag behind the more optimistic brightness predictions.

10 Responses

  1. Edward O'Reilly

    At least it doesn’t appear to be TOO far off the more optimistic predictions.If it had been recovered at,say,14.5-15 mag,then there would be real cause for worry that Ison could disappoint. Not too worried – yet,lol.

  2. Edward M. Boll

    This at least confirms ISON”s continued existence. I should be able to take a short break at work about 6:20 tomorrow morning. I am going to glance out and see if I can still see Jupiter with my own eyes or see how bright it is at that time.

    1. Sean

      Hey Edward. last weekend i was able to track Jupiter till about 10 minutes past sunrise at my location. of course it helped that i spotted it earlier than that and kept going back to the same window and noting its position relative to foreground objects.

  3. Edward M. Boll

    A comet observation for Aug. 18 showed comet Borisov at magnitude 8.8. This would then be the brightest comet. But we are probably too far north for many of us to observe it.

    1. astrobob

      Yes, that was a nice surprise. A major brightening close to perihelion but the comet is extremely difficult to observe as you noted although for a different reason. Northerners are actually favored because of the comet’s high declination. The bigger problem is its extremely low altitude at the start of morning twilight.

    1. astrobob

      Dear no name,
      Ah, the pseudo-scientific nonsense surrounding this comet has begun. I wondered how long it would take. The person describing the images of Comet ISON would do himself a favor by just going to the Hubble site for accurate explanation of the apparent multiple nuclei inside the comet. They’re multiple images of the moving comet taken through several different filters. Normally astronomers would track the comet to create a sharp image of it, but in this case, the Hubble team wanted a sharp view of the background field of stars and galaxies instead. It’s all explained here with lots of photos:

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