Nova Herculis fades

After only a few hours of glory, the nova in Hercules has faded considerably to about magnitude 8.5 as of 23h UT on 13 June.

The dramatic rise and fall is shown in the pair of photos below, which compare its change in brightness over less than a day. Thus observers have been given examples of a fast and a slow nova within a few months. A nova reported in March 2021 in Cassiopeia is currently still brighter than magnitude 8, having remained at or above that brightness since discovery (see our news story), and currently showing no signs of fading. But Nova Her is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fast nova.

Nevertheless, keen starwatchers will keep an eye on the star for any unexpected behaviour. The object has been confirmed as a nova from the appearance of its spectrum.

Top image shows the nova (circled) at 23:20 on 12 June 2021, and the lower picture was taken at 22:35 on 13 June. Photo: Robin Scagell
Undriven photo at 00.58 on 14 June, taken by Paul Sutherland from Walmer, Kent, using Fujifilm XT-10 camera and 85 mm Samyang lens.