(cba:news) V1674 Her: nova of the century

Joe Patterson jop at astro.columbia.edu
Wed Aug 4 14:18:58 EDT 2021

Hi CBAers,

Novae of the century were plentiful in tThe 20th century.  There was GK 
Per in 1901, V603 Aql in 1918, DQ Her in 1934, V1500 Cyg in 1975, and 
V1974 Cyg in 1992.  At least Starrfield and Shore, who so named the 1992 
nova (see Sky and Telescope article), had the patience to wait until 
late in the century to award that designation.

But all five stars continue to reward faithful study and shed new light 
on these stellar explosions.  That's remarkable; most novae fade from 
headlines as soon as the next one appears  - and fade from research 
papers nearly as fast..

The 21st century has seen no stunning new nova discovery.  Maybe that's 
because they're more plentiful; with fancier and more sensitive toys, 
astronomers may get distracted by the next nova, and never get around to 
close study of last month's surprise.  (Except for Ulisse Munari; 
*nothing* distracts him.)   But this year's applicant for century 
royalty - v1674 Herculis - has great credentials.  Still 7 mag above 
quiescence, when the big luminous shell still dominates, it is 
displaying periodic signals at 8 minutes and 3.2 hours.

We've never seen this before in a still-bright nova (and neither has 
anyone else).  Has anyone been looking properly?  Well, maybe... and 
maybe not.  But let's not repeat past negligence.  It's a good season 
for Hercules; and with a dec of +14, could be a good target for 
Aussies/Kiwis/Asians as well.  We'd sure love to go around the world on 
this guy!

Length of run is a big issue.  With a V filter, differential extinction 
is small, and you could perhaps stretch it to 2.5 airmasses.  But then 
you lose signal-to-noise (14.5 mag now and fading).  Otherwise,enforce a 
limit of 2.0 airmasses... and we'll rely on longitude spread to get the 
period structure precisely right.  (Fainter than 16, this is by far the 
better strategy.)


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