RS Ophiuchi in outburst

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SkyBrowser
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by SkyBrowser »

I passed my own observations onto Matthew, but I haven't passed on yours or MAF's.

I'm going to have a try at a few variables and see how it goes. For fickle, I suppose there's always the likes of R CrB and T CrB.
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by SkyBrowser »

Tue 2021 Aug 24 2050UT 8 x 50 : 8.2

Another tricky observation in a still light sky, with the Moon rising. Could just get it with direct vision, but much easier with averted.
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by SkyBrowser »

Wed 2021 Aug 25 2041UT 8 x 50 : 8.2

Seemed about the same as Tuesday night.
jeff.stevens
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by jeff.stevens »

You’re doing better than me. I went out to observe about 10:45pm, and the sky transparency was so poor. I was struggling to see the main stars in Cygnus, and the closest star I would have used (Y Ophiuchi) was well beyond reach at magnitude +6.15.

To top it off, I had just sat down in a recliner when the neighbour’s floodlight, backing onto my garden, triggered into supernova mode.

That lasted 10 minutes. So I waited patiently for dark adaptation, lifted the binocular to my eye, and my own internal house lights erupted as my son decided to switch every light on to come down and make a snack.

With that problem solved, I settled to become dark adapted. Lifted the binocular to my eyes and boom, the neighbour to the side decides the dog needs to go out to relieve itself, and once more I was bathed in light.

Not one to give up. I waited to become dark adapted. After 15 minutes I looked closely at the stars and realised I could just make out the Summer Triangle and Arcturus. Sighed and went inside.

Best wishes, Jeff.
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by SkyBrowser »

The Moon is a bit of a nuisance at the moment. And it's that time of year when it doesn't seem to rise much later each day.

Still, dix points, for perseverance!
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by jeff.stevens »

Slightly more successful this evening. I started observing about 10:40pm, finishing a short while ago, just before midnight.

I used my 8x56 to begin with, and could pick out Y Ophiuchi, but not RS. So I decided to use my 25x100 binocular, with much greater success.

This time, I could make out a triangle of stars below Y Ophiuchi. A mag +8.35 star at the 5 o’clock position, relative to Y Ophiuchi. To the 7 o’clock position relative to that, the mag +7.95 star HIP 87396 was easily visible. RS made the triangle at the 3 o’clock position relative to HIP 87396.

I’m estimating RS Ophiuchi at +8.1. The attached sketch shows the plot of the stars in the field of view.

I also turned my 25x100 to Jupiter, amongst other targets, and was complete bedazzled by the bright disk and the diamond studded beads of the Galilean moons - also attached as a quick sketch to show the relative positions.

Edit: my magnitude estimating leaves a lot to be desired, so I’ll be interested to see the estimates of others who are far more skilled than me to see how far out I am.

Best wishes, Jeff.
Attachments
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by SkyBrowser »

Glad you finally nailed it Jeff. I'm envious of those 100mm bins. Are they quick to set up?

8.1 seems good to me. I'm absolutely no expert and I went for 8.2, but this was getting towards the limit of what I could see with my 8x50s.
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by jeff.stevens »

SkyBrowser, the big bino was very easy to set up last night, as I hand-held it while reclining on a sun lounger.

Ordinarily I’d set them up on the heavy duty Manfrotto, which is fairly quick, but a heavy thing to carry around. I just wanted a quick glimpse last night but they were fairly comfortable to use almost lying down, so I wound up using them for much longer than I intended.

I may well have overestimated with my magnitude, but it’s interesting to see I wasn’t miles away.

Best wishes, Jeff.
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by SkyBrowser »

Sat 2021 Aug 28 2139UT FOA-60 : 8.4

I switched from binoculars, where I was getting close to not seeing RS, to my new 60mm refractor. That extra 10mm made a difference, though of course it might also be down to sky conditions. And how much I had to drink with dinner :)
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Re: RS Ophiuchi in outburst

Post by jeff.stevens »

There's an interesting short piece in the 4th September 2021 issue of New Scientist (Jason Arunn Murugesu), regarding RS Ophiuchi and the release of high-energy cosmic rays, which are nearly always accompanied by very high-energy gamma radiation. It proposes that novae may be far stronger than previously thought.

Stefan Wagner at Heidelberg University, and his colleagues, have been studying very high-energy gamma radiation (which doesn't get reflected by magnetic fields before reaching Earth) specifically from the RS Ophiuchi outburst. The study found that the radiation released by this nova was between 10 and 100 times stronger than that associated with any nova previously studied.

Best wishes, Jeff.
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