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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 - 1 -