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.
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.