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I'd like to find or generate a map that will be useful for someone with an 8° FOV pair of binoculars to locate the Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi.

As linked in The Observatory Science alert's Epic Nova Eruption From Rare Star Is So Bright You Can See It With The Naked Eye tells us that it is currently about magnitude 4.5.

That links to this tweet

S Ophiuchi OUTBURST

Taken by Ernesto Guido, Marco Rocchetto & Adriano Valvasori on August 9, 2021 @ Remotely from Australia through TELESCOPE LIVE network https://telescope.live recurrent nova RS Oph is in Outburst. The last large outburst of RS Oph occurred in Feb. 2006, →

Question: How can I find or generate a binocular-friendly star map to find the Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi?


recurrent nova RS Oph is in Outburst https://twitter.com/mizuho73700856/status/1424718454595092492 recurrent nova RS Oph is in Outburst https://twitter.com/mizuho73700856/status/1424718454595092492

click images for full size

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Part of the fun of variables stars is watching them fade or brighten and have an idea of the magnitude of the variable. The AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers) website can create custom plots of variable stars. See AAVSO Variable Star Plotter. Here is a binocular-friendly chart I made for RS Oph. AAVSO Chart for RS Oph (The numbers are the visual magnitudes with the decimal point removed. 33 indicates magnitude 3.3 and so on.)

You will need a regular star chart to navigate to this area of sky. The 3.3 magnitude, 4.6 magnitude, and unlabeled star to the west that forms a nice triangle around RS Oph should be a good guide.

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You could generate one with Stellarium. Using the tools in the top right you can create a "telescope" with the right field of view. I used one with a 50mm diameter, and a focal length of 210mm, with the standard Ocular #0, and I turned off the vertical and horizontal "flip". This gives a field of view of 8.2 degrees

The bright star in the lower left is the third magnitude $\nu$-Oph. Only one of the stars in the astrophotograph in your question is visible, and that is extremely faint.

simulation of an 8° FOV centered on Nova RS Ophiuchi generated with Stellarium

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh that's cool! "Stellarium is a free and open-source planetarium" so I'll go download it and give it a spin. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 12 at 22:31
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh You won't regret it. $\endgroup$
    – User123
    Aug 14 at 14:37
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Pretty useful website is spaceweather.com. It features an archive, which is available here for August 9, 2021, when they published an article about the nova. Right before the 'Update' section there are 3 star charts, one of them being the one @JohnHoltz posted.

Skymaps: simple, detailed, really detailed

I found it following these arrows:

Star chart Ophiuchus is pretty dim constellation, so I tried starting with Sagittarius (the Teapot) and following the blue line. The black triangle might help.

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    $\begingroup$ Ah, just what I needed! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 14 at 21:59

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