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AAVSO Nova Section Query

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cmy's picture
AAVSO Nova Section Query

Hello Everyone,

I sent the question below to the main AAVSO "contact" site about 10 days ago, but I don't seem to have received a reply....  Can anyone here help, or point me in the right direction??

 Dear AAVSO team,
I was wondering what happened to the AAVSO Nova section? In the past I have experimented with searching for novae visually, but the reality is that I can only manage to cover a very small area this way as my memory just isn’t up to the task of covering an area of more than a few square degrees! I have put together a simple, but very effective method of searching for novae using a DSLR on a small equatorial mount. I can very quickly take patrol images and compare them with my master images by using software to blink the images. Sadly, due to my location, I can only cover the more northerly regions of the milky-way and I can’t cover anything south of Cygnus.
Is there still and active Nova Section in the AAVSO, and are there any other AAVSO observers carrying out a similar programme?  And if there isn’t, are there any plans to start one again which embraces photographic searches?
Many thanks,
Mick Crook (CMY)



HQA's picture
nova search

Hi Mick,

There is no current nova search section.  We have been talking about reinvigorating this concept using DSLRs as a step to support this inexpensive digital observing method, but have not had sufficient time to flesh out a program.  Such a project would require either an active amateur or a professional researcher to lay out the search fields and provide instruction as to how to take the images and search for new objects.  Then the means of measuring position and reporting the possible candidates would have to be created.  To do it right is a non-trivial task, but one that could be fun for the participating observers.

If you want to try it on your own, I'd recommend covering just one, or a small handful, of fields and primarily in the plane of the Milky Way.  Don't try to find 12th magnitude novae at the beginning, or you will be swamped with data!  The traditional method is to blink new images with respect to master images taken earlier and look for new objects.  For anyone to trust your candidate, you will need more than one image that shows the object, preferably taken at a different site, with a different camera, or several hours between exposures.

Good luck!


cmy's picture
Many thanks for the reply and

Many thanks for the reply and for the advice Arne. I can see from your explanation that setting up a AAVSO photographic nova search section would be quite an undertaking! Maybe one day in the future we will see one!

Thanks again,




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