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ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA

COMET AND NOVA SECTION
Bulletin No. 5  March 15, 1964

      Although the total for 1963 may not yet be complete, there were more searches
for Comets and Novae last year than in 1962. Mr. Maclean of the Niagara Falls
Centre was our most active observer again this year, with Mr. Rippen of the Montreal
Centre a close second. Together these two observers made over one third of all
searches. Let's hope that others follow their example, as we need many morQQbser-
vers and observatIons in oSer to keep the sky under close observation.  Last year
only 53 of the 400 areas visible from Canada were under observation.

      What is the purpose of making regular searches and reporting them? Such
searches will result in the observer becoming more familiar with the sky, and naked
eye searches of the dome wall result in the observer becoming an expert on the
constellations. Negative reports may be important in setting the date of a future
outburst of a nova, or appearance of a comet.  Suppose that a nova ia disdovered in
your area and that your last observation was "negative" three days earlier.  We
can immediately say that the nova had just appeared, and had not "just been missed"
for some time.

      Nova Herculis 1963 was well observed during the year.  It reached a maximum
of third magnitude early in February when it began an irregular decline. Dunng
the last half of 1963, the decline was slow and regular, and by mid-February this
year it had reached magnitude 10.5.  Copies of all nova obsextatton… were forwarded
to Mr Dickinson who is National Co-ordinator of the Variable Star Section.

      The General Assembly of the R.A.S.C. is being held in Ottawa on May 15-17,
and I intend to prepare a display showing the activity of the Comet and Nova obser-
vers.  If you have any material suitable for this display, please forward it to at
no later than April 15.

      Since only one copy of this "Bulletin" is sent to each Centre, would you
please make this programme known to members who may be interested.  Revised instru-
ction and report forms are being prepared, and I will send copies to all Centres
and unattached members requesting them.

      Of the twelve periodic comets "visible" during 1964, only "Encke's" will be
bright enough to observe with a Snail telescope.  During June, it may be seen
very low in the west soon after sunset. It may be seen south of Castor and Pollux,
and on June 7th the comet will pass about four degrees south of Venus. Although
it will be near the sun, I hope that an effort will be made to observe this object.
The ephemeris given below is from the Handbook of the British Astronomical Assn.

1964     R.A. (1950)   Dec.     Mag.       1964     R.A.(1950)    Dec.     Mag.
            h  m       o  '                            h  m       o  '
June  4   06:07.6     22 48     4.6        June 29   08:26.3     00 07
      9   06:38.6     19 57                July  4   09:06.3    -08 29     7.9
     14   07:04.8     16 22     5.5              9   09:59.3    -18 48
     19   07:29.3     12 05                     14   11:07.3    -29 05     8.9
     24   07:55.2     06 49     7.0             19   12 24.5    -36 31


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