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Sunday, 21 March 2021

Asteroid 4-Vesta and a nova in Cassiopeia

In this composite image of two photos taken on Friday, March 19th and Saturday, March 20th, you can plainly see how the little planet has moved against the background stars of Leo. Knowing where it was, I could just make it out with binoculars: with the telescope, of course, it was easily visible.

Novas, as many of you may know, are stars that suddenly increase in luminosity. Novas bright enough to see with binoculars or the naked eye are very rare: before last night I'd only seen one in seventy years! The current example is near the 'W' shaped constellation Cassiopeia, which is visible as soon as it gets dark in the south eastern sky. Fingers crossed the Nova continues to brighten: watch this space!

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