National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Japanese Amateur Astronomers Discover New Nova in Sagittarius

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Image of the nova taken on the next day of the discovery.(Credit: Minoru Yamamoto)

A new 11th-magnitude nova has been discovered.

A Japanese amateur astronomer, Minoru Yamamoto of Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, discovered a new nova in Sagittarius in the dawn on January 31, 2020 (JST) and communicated it to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s window for reports of new astronomical objects. This new nova was independently discovered in the early dawn on February 1, 2020 (JST) by another Japanese amateur astronomer, Yukio Sakurai of Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The spectroscopic observations conducted by yet another amateur astronomer, Hidehiko Akazawa of Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, confirmed that this outburst was caused by nuclear explosions on the surface of a white dwarf and thus can be classified as a “classical nova.” The new nova was given the variable star designation V6566 Sgr. Since we cannot predict when and in what direction novae will occur, discoveries by amateur astronomers contribute significantly to our understanding of the phenomena. The activities of amateur astronomers who conduct difficult spectroscopic observation to advance astronomy are remarkable.

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