« back to overview Star Clusters March 2018 - Nova- Carinae taken with Pentax 75
March 2018 - Nova Carinae taken with Astro Physics EDFS
March 2018 - Nova Carinae taken with PlanWave Astrographen

July 2018 - Nova Carinae
Object description

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Object description - Nova Carinae 2018 - with the provisional designation ASASSN-18fv

The Nova Carinae was discovered on images taken on 20 March 2018 with a telescope of the project "All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae" (ASAS-SN). ASAS is a system of several automated, web-controlled telescopes distributed all over the world, so that the sky can be monitored from both the northern and southern hemispheres. The system is mainly used to search for novae, supernovae and other events where astronomical objects change their brightness within a short time.

At the time of discovery, the brightness of the Nova was brighter than 10th magnitude. The star is positioned just west of the large Carina star formation area NGC 3372 and directly south of the star HD 92 063 of the 5th magnitude. The celestial coordinates of the Nova (epoch J 2000) are: Rectacension: 10h 36m 13.7s, Declination: -59° 35´55".

We were very lucky that one of us (Paech) was in Namibia from March 21 to April 20. Despite the still prevailing rainy season, some good pictures of the Nova Carinae could be taken on two clear nights.
A Nova is an explosive brightness and radiation outburst in a narrow double star system. The trigger is typically a thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star which accumulates matter from an accompanying star in an accretion disk due to its high gravitational pull (see images left, source Wikipedia). Details of such outbreaks are still largely unclear. The brightness of such an event increases millions of times over within a few days.

The term nova is derived from the Latin "stella nova" (new star) and goes back to the name of an observation of a Tychonic star coined by Tycho Brahe in 1572. It refers to the sudden appearance of a previously invisible star-like object in the sky. Until the middle of the 20th century, the term nova was used to describe every type of brightness eruption from a star with an increase to the maximum in a period of days to years and a return to resting brightness within weeks to decades.

Today, many different new phenomena are distinguished, for example: Hypernovae, red novae, x-ray novae, dwarf novae and many more.
Spectroscopic observations of the star on March 21 show a strong stellar continuum and narrow emission lines which could indicate that this event is not a classical nova, but that it cannot be definitively excluded. The star seems to belong to the Carina nebulaecomplex and so the event could also be a strong eruption of a very young star.

What exactly triggered the increase in brightness will only become apparent later on. Images of the position before the eruption of the GAIA satellite show a star of the 20th magnitude. On 21 March the brightness had already risen to the 6.5 magnitude.

When we return to Onjala in July 2018, it will be exciting to see the Nova region again. Perhaps by then professional astronomers will have clarified whether it is a classic Nova or a far more exotic event.

At the end of July we could take more pictures of the Nova Carinae. Interestingly, and strangely enough, there are no scientific publications on this event that clarify what kind of novatype it is. In any case, the brightness of the nova in July (4 months after its discovery) was still so high that the star could be easily observed photographically.
Recordings of the Nova Carinae on 30 July 2018

Image data: 30. Juli 2018, 8 x 600 Seconds with the 5" EDFS, Canon EOS 700 DA, cooled.

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