Nova in Hercules

Update 13 June 2021, 19h UT

A fairly bright nova has been discovered in the constellation of Hercules by Japanese observer Seiji Ueda. The star is now about seventh magnitude and is visible in binoculars.

It was spotted on 12 June at magnitude 8.4 and within 2½ hours had brightened by about two magnitudes to magnitude 6.2. The star is easily placed for observation throughout the night from the UK.

By 13 June the star was already fading and overseas observers were reporting it to be about magnitude 7.5 or fainter.

Although it is actually within Hercules, it only just makes it into the constellation and is right on the border with Aquila. The best way to find it is to start with the bright star Altair, in Aquila, which is easily recognised by the two third-magnitude stars on either side of it. Take a line at an angle to the line of these stars to locate third-magnitude Zeta Aquilae and fourth-magnitude Epsilon Aquilae, then strike off at an angle to this pair, about an equal distance to that between them, to find the nova.

The photograph below, taken on 12 June at 23:20 Universal Time, shows the location of the object, marked with a circle, compared with well-known features of the sky. Its position is RA18 57 31 Dec +16 53 40 (J2000.0).

Location of probable nova in Hercules. Click to enlarge. Photo: Robin Scagell