N Aql 1918 (V603 Aql)

Forums History Nova Aquilæ 1918 N Aql 1918 (V603 Aql)

Gary Poyner

The discovery of the ‘victory star’ as it was called at the time was credited to Warren Curdworth of Norwood, Mass USA.  Not because he was the first to see it, but because he was the first to report it (to Harvard).  

Apart from Bower, Michelle Luizet of Lyon observatory France observed it at 08.40 GMAT on June 8.

There is also a story of a Cornish fisherman seeing the Nova a whole day before anyone else, but upon reporting it to Greenwich his account was dismissed as he was a non astronomer (who might know the night sky better than a fisherman?) I remember reading the account in I think Philosophical Transactions many years ago, but despite re-checking can no longer find it.  Perhaps I am mistaken with the publication I first encountered this story, but if anyone knows about it I would very interested in where it was published!

The Nova attracted the imagination of the public, and the attached satirical cartoon appeared in ‘Punch’ on June 19, 1918.

Some of us still observe the Nova, myself included.  It can be seen varying slightly between magnitudes 11 and 12, but doesn’t do anything spectacular these days.  It is interesting though to consider the turbulant times in which the Nova first appeared when ‘looking’ at it through a telescope!