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Sun, 08 Jan 2017 - Mira about to brighten rapidly

Here is the 2016 light curve for Mira (omicron Ceti), based on observations made by Matthew Barrett, Tracie Heywood, Jonathan Shanklin and Tony Markham:

The 2016 maximum was predicted to occur in late March or early April. Unfortunately, this was just too late for uK based observers, as Mira is lost in the evening twilight around mid March.

The signs are that it was set to be a bright maximum, with the final estimate being of mag 3.3. By the time that Mira emerged from the morning twilight in late July it was well on the way down to minimum. Since passing through minimum brightness in mid autumn, Mira has been brightening - but only slowly.

Particularly noticeable in the above light curve is the very rapid brightening of Mira from around magnitude 8 to magnitude 4.5 during February 2016. With the period of Mira being approx 11 months, it is likely that we are now on the verge of the corresponding rapid brightening in 2017.

The SPA VSS finder charts for Mira can be found in  this guide

 

Added by: Tracie Heywood