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Alert Notice 292: 0659-03 Peculiar variable in Monoceros (Var Mon 02) [V838 Mon]

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THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF VARIABLE STAR OBSERVERS
25 Birch Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
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Tel. 617-354-0484       Fax 617-354-0665

AAVSO ALERT NOTICE 292 (January 10, 2002)

0659-03  PECULIAR VARIABLE IN MONOCEROS  (VAR MON 02)

We have been informed by the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (IAU
Circular 7785
) that Nicholas J. Brown, Quinns Rocks, W. Australia, has
photographically discovered a possible nova in Monoceros on January 6.6 UT
at about magnitude 10 on a T-Max 400 film.  He confirmed it visually on
January 7.6 UT at magnitude 10.0.  Confirming observations reported via
the AAVSO were: Jan. 8.094 UT, 10.1 CCDV, Charles Scovil, Stamford, CT; 9.513,
9.3 CCD, Peter Nelson, Ellinbank, Victoria, Australia; 9.815, 9.5 CCD,
Arto Oksanen and Juha Solonen, Nyrola Observatory, Finland.  Brown reported
that nothing was visible at the location of the object down to magnitude 12
on a photograph taken 2001 December 22.

Oksanen measured the object on a CCD image taken January 9.96 UT at CCDV
magnitude 9.92, B-V = +1.72, and the coordinates:

        R.A. = 07h 04m 04.85s    Decl. = -03 degrees 50' 51.1"   (2000.0)

Aaron Price, AAVSO Headquarters, examined 71 RH plates at the Harvard College
Observatory covering the interval 1930 October 19 - 1952 January 17 and
taken at an average interval of about 110 days. He found nothing at the
location of the object down to about 11.5 in 1930 to down to about 13.5 in
1950.

R. M. Wagner, LBT Observatory, and J. P. Halpern and M. Jackson, Columbia
University, observed the object visually with the Hiltner 2.4-m telescope
(+ television acquisition system) at the MDM Observatory on Kitt Peak and
found it to be about magnitude 10 on January 9.27 UT. They note that the
object is in virtually the same location as a red-magnitude 14.3 USNO-A2.0
star at R.A. 07h 04m 04.846s Decl. -03 degrees 50' 51.12" (2000.0) measured
on the Digitized Sky Survey; they also note, however, that the DSS image is
a blend of at least two stellar objects.  The spectrum they obtained is very
complex and is "not typical of Fe- or He/N-type classical novae early in
their evolution." (IAU Circular 7785)

Preliminary analysis of spectra obtained January 8 UT by M. Della Valle,
Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Florence, and T. Iijima, Osservatorio
Astronomico di Padova, Italy, with the 1.22-m telescope (+ Boller & Chivens
spectrograph) show "a lack of the typical signatures exhibited by classical
novae at maximum light or during their early decline...[Features] may suggest
this object not to be a normal classical nova, but rather a peculiar 'slow'
nova or a post-asymptotic-giant-branch star in flare-up. Knowledge of the
amplitude of the outburst could improve significantly the classification."
(IAU Circular 7786)

Observations by J. Bedient, Honolulu, HI, CCD with RG-1 filter (broadband-red)
(IAU Circular 7785): 2001 December 22.284 UT, <12; 24.279, <12; 26.273, <12;
2002 January 1.257, 9.64, 2.254, 9.34; 3.251, 9.10, 4.249, 9.05; 5.246, 8.80;
8.238, 9.02; 9.235, 8.88.  S. Kiyota, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, reports
observations (IAU Circular 7786): January 9.497 UT, 8.28 CCDI_c; 9.498,
10.10 CCDV; 9.498, 12.16 CCDB.

Additional observations reported to the AAVSO include: January 10.1041 UT,
10.4, M. Simonsen, Macomb, MI; 10.1375, 10.06 CCDV, D. West, Mulvane, KS;
10.2444, 10.4, Simonsen.

Accompanying is an AAVSO 'd' scale preliminary chart of VAR MON 02 prepared
by Aaron Price with sequence prepared by Mike Simonsen using Tycho-2 and
USNO-A2.0 (V) magnitudes.  Please use this chart to observe the object, and
report your observations of 0659-03 VAR MON 02 to AAVSO Headquarters, making
sure to indicate which comparison stars you used. Please note that a 'd' scale
reversed chart is also available from the AAVSO website or on request.

Congratulations to Nick on his latest discovery!

CHARTS AVAILABLE ON AAVSO WEB AND FTP SITES

Chart links obsolete; create charts using VSP at http://www.aavso.org/vsp

Electronic copies of the chart for VAR MON 02 mentioned in this Alert Notice
are available through our web site at the following address:

                        http://www.aavso.org

The chart may also be obtained directly from our FTP site:

             ftp.aavso.org (209.192.236.2), in /alerts/alert292

We encourage observers to submit observations via our website (online data
submission tool WebObs), or by email in AAVSO format to
observations@aavso.org.  If you do not have AAVSO Observer Initials, please
contact Headquarters so we may assign them to you.  The answering machine at
AAVSO Headquarters is on nights and weekends; use our charge-free number
(888-802-STAR = 888-802-7827) to report your observations, or report them via
fax (617-354-0665).

Many thanks for your valuable astronomical contributions and your efforts.

Good observing!

Elizabeth O. Waagen, Senior Technical Assistant

on behalf of

Janet A. Mattei, Director

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