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Now is your chance to spot a nova in the Arizona skies

(NASA Photo)

A nova is a star that has basically exploded.

The true dynamics of this event are rather complicated, but observers in Arizona with dark skies have a unique opportunity to view this rare event.

Japanese observers discovered the new nova late last week in the constellation of Sagittarius, aka the Archer.

Sagittarius is best seen just after dark, low in the southwest sky.

The nova is easy to see with a pair of binoculars, but NOT with the naked eye. For those of you that have more experience and telescopes, here are the actual coordinates in the sky:

Right ascension: 18hr, 10m, 28s

Declination: -27º 29’ 59”

The nova has been hovering around +8 in magnitude and may brighten further.

The best time to look for this nova, named TCP J18102829-2729590, is just after twilight has ended — an hour or so after sunset. Sagittarius will be low in the southwest sky at that time.

Most of the classic novae are from binary star systems,which have a white dwarf star that attracts hydrogen from the primary star. That hydrogen is forced upon the star with great gravity pressure.

When that pressure becomes unstable, the star explodes like a nuclear weapon.

The explosion is a shell of gas, moving outwards at speeds of some 6 million mph!

The nova is thought to be near the central core of the Milky Way. some 27,000 light years distant!

If you’ve never seen a nova, NOW is the time !

Here are some finder charts. Get your personal October star chart here.

See you on the radio!

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