A Japanese astronomer has discovered a bright “new star” or Nova. It wasnt visible a few days ago but it certainly is now!
A nova is a stellar explosion that occurs when a white dwarf star (comprised of dense non-fusing carbon and oxygen) in a binary system pulls too much matter (hydrogen and helium) away from its partner.
If the white dwarf accumulates too much, a runaway nuclear reaction occurs and the extra material gets blown off in a spectacular explosion.
The white dwarf can do this repeatedly as gas re-accumulates each time under the influence of gravity.
I spotted the Nova tonight with a really old (but very lightweight) pair of 7 x 25 binoculars. First find the Summer triangle using this link:
Just below the lowest side of the triangle is the constellation Delphinus which looks like the outline of a fish – Find the dorsal and ventral “fins” of the fish and using the line between them as a guide go upwards until you find a cross-shaped cluster of stars. There is one further star just above the cluster – between that star and the cross-shaped cluster is a star just to the right – that is the nova.
I have used Stellarium to make this map but have really exaggerated the brightness of the stars in the cluster to help you find it. The Nova is located at the circular target! Good hunting!