National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Japanese Amateur Astronomers Discovers New Nova in Sagittarius

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Discovery image (Credit: Shigehisa Fujikawa)

A new 9.9-magnitude nova has been discovered.

A Japanese amateur astronomer, Shigehisa Fujikawa of Kan’onji City, Kagawa Prefecture, discovered a new object in Sagittarius on the night of July 16, 2020 (JST) and communicated it to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s window for reports of new astronomical objects.

The spectroscopic observations conducted with the South African Large Telescope (SALT) 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.” This observation was carried out only half a day after the discovery, demonstrating fruitful collaboration between amateur astronomers and researchers.

Since we cannot predict when and in what direction novae will occur, discoveries by amateur astronomers contribute significantly to our understanding of the phenomena.

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