Spectra of old novae

Forums Spectroscopy Spectra of old novae

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    Robin Leadbeater

    At the meeting yesterday I suggested that the novae that Eliot Merlin had viewed with a spectroscope over a hundred years ago could still be recorded spectroscopically today despite being some 13 magnitudes fainter. The two novae that Merlin is known to have observed are Nova Aql 1918 and Nova Gem 1912.  (J. Br. Astron. Assoc. 127, 1, 2017  page 30)

    The former at around mag 12 is straightforward for the ALPY 600


    but the latter is much more of a challenge. (SIMBAD lists it at mag 15 but it looked more like mag 16 from my guider image)

    In fact it took a total of 9 hours exposure with the ALPY 600, spread over three, admittedly not the most transparent of nights to pull out the rather weak emission lines out of the noise.

    A rough estimate of the line strengths suggest they are similar to those from Jan 2000 reported in this paper



    Nick James

    I heard you mention this during your acceptance yesterday. Amazing stuff.

    Jeremy Shears

    Really interesting, Robin.

    Congratulations on receiving your gong at yesterday’s BAA meeting in London. Well deserved!

    Dr Andrew Smith

    Nice spectra and congratulations on the award. Well deserved for Star Analysers and your unstinting support for budding spectrocopists. 

    Regards Andrew 

    David Swan

    Very well deserved Merlin medal. (I missed the early bit of the YouTube stream, but have caught up with all of it now.)

    Andy Wilson

    Congratulations Robin!

    It is incredible what has become possible due to advances in technology, though it still requires great skill to reach such faint magnitudes. A very well deserved award.


    Mr Jack Martin

    Congratulations and well done Robin, you are an inspiration to us all.

    Good to meet you again.


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