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                                 ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA
                                        COMET AND NOVA SECTION

Bulletin No. 4                                                         March 19, 1963

      "From Nova persei 1901 to Nova Puppis 1942, seven nova of 2nd magnitude or
brighter were discovered.  Yet it is now 20 years since any such really striking
novae have appeared.  Perhaps another one is due soon.  Who will discover it?
       "The fortunte might fall to some amateur astronomer who knows his constella-
tions well and who regularly takes five minutes whever he first goes outdoors on
a clear night, surveying the star patterns down to 3rd magnitude."

       This excellent quotation was taken from the November 1962 issue of "Sky and
Telescope", and it is reprinted here as a morale booster for the observers who
may be getting impatient with negative reports all the time.  Keep searching, and
you are bound to find a new star (or comet)!

       There is a nova in the sky now.  It was discovered by two independent
observers on February 5 and 6, but not by any C & N Section member.  This nova is
about five degrees north-west of Vega at R.A. 18h 13m, Dec. +41°50' (for epoch 1960s).
The magnitude was about 3.9 when discovered, and was 4.1 on February 9.  It was
estimated at 5.1 on February 24 by the undersigned.

       This nova is in C & N Area #23, and upon a check of the "Search" records,
it was found that this area was last checked on November 18, 1962 by Mr. J. G.
Craig of Hamilton.  This was a negative report to magnitude 6.0.  This shows the
value of negative reports, as it enables us to determine the period of time in
which a nova occurred.  It is hoped that this nova will spark more interest in
this programme as better coverage of the sky is required.

       New Programme:  Since the C & N Section is "on its feet" now, a new type of
search programme can be introduced.  One or more observations are made on almost
every night now, and to increase the chances of discovering a bright nova (which
can appear in less than a day), it was felt that many observers could make naked-
eye searches of the "dome" to about third magnitude. If you are already familiar
with the constellation, this would be an easy matter, and if you are not familiar
with them, this would be your chance to learn.  To take part in this programme, all
that you require is a pair of eyes, and charts of the sky for the different times
and seasons.  Then you can search the outline of the constellation for anything
that may appear "irregular" taking care to note the position of the planets.
C & N Form #2 may be used for recording your searches of the dome.  Would your
Centre please let the members know about this programme.  Let the C & N Section
National Co-ordinator know of any ideas and suggestions that you may have.

       This section expects to have a display at the 1963 General Assembly of the
R.A.S.C., and the Co-ordinator hopes that Centres will send material on Comet Ikeya
and on the nova.  To be included in the display, material should be mailed to the
undersigned no later than April 15.

       On the next page is a summary of the work done in this section during 1962.
A total of 1953 searches were made by 27 observers, and 88 observations of two
comets were reported by 20 observers.  It is hoped that 1963 will be a better year,
and we are off to a good start with the appearance already of a bright comet and
a nova (see Announcements #5 and#6).  At present, three Centres (Hamilton, Montreal,
and Niagara Falls) are active in the search part of this programme. Let's hope that
more Centres will take an interest in searching for comets and novae.

       Special thanks are due to Mr Hugh N. A. Maclean who was the most active
observer during 1962.  He made 354 searches of 6 areas and he made 35 observations
of two comets.  Kedp up the good work, Mr Maclean.

       Review of Comet Humason, 1962e:  From observations received, it appears
that this comet was a bit unusual.  Until the middle of August it was reported
close to the predicted magnitude.  Then, after August, instead of getting a little
brighter as predicted, it rapidly became fainter.  A total of 57 observations were
reported for this comet, and it was under observation from June 27 until September
19, 1962.

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630319 Bulletin 4 (PDF)1.05 MB
Bulletin No. 4