Time for a nova?

Since I got back to amateur astronomy in November 2011, after a hiatus since around 1990, I’ve had the opportunity to observe several types of objects and celestial phenomena: a total lunar eclipse; U Geminorum in outburst; a fading of that northern beauty (as RCB’s go), Z Ursae Minoris; a well-placed comet visible in binoculars, in the form of comet Garradd; maxima of classic miras T Cephei, R Leonis and chi Cygni. Add to that a whole zoo of objects observed digitally using robotic CCD-telescopes, ranging from blazars to extragalactic supernovae and literally thousands of variable stars, among them a bunch of formerly neglected miras picked up by a group of fellow Swedish variabilists.

Quite a lot in eight months of observing.

But I haven’t seen a nova. I have the impression that the novae visible recently have been stuff deep down in the southern sky, all but invisible from my vantage point here at 55 degrees northern latitude.

Who knows what the sky will have in store for us? Back in 2007 and 2008, there were novae in Cygnus and Vulpeculae, and further back during the last couple of decades there’s been bright novae in Cygnus, Aquila and Cassiopeia.

Maybe it’s time for the northern Milky Way the next time? All the nova action can’t possibly be all Sagittarius all the time.

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