When you think you have discovered a nova

VSNET receives a nova discovery report and make an announcement to nova researchers and the variable star community to enable early-time confirmation and follow-up observations. VSNET is one of the most powerful media for disseminating such a kind of alerts to the open community, and is relied on by many professional nova researchers.

For this purpose, VSNET takes an open policy of any nova (and supernova, variable star etc.) discovery announcements, i.e. such announcements will be immediately released and made public.

When you think you have discovered a nova, please keep the following in mind before submitting the discovery to VSNET:

0. If you are not familiar with constellations, or no experience with star charts (star maps), and you think you have discovered a naked-eye object (visible to naked eyes), we strongly encourage you to consult your local friend or a local astronomy party or observatory to make an independent confirmation before making a world-wide query.

1. In order to preserve your priority as a discoverer, we recommend you to report your discovery announcement to the CBAT (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams; How to Report a Discovery). We recommend you to add a notice your message to VSNET that this discovery announcement has been reported to the CBAT. These recommendations are not absolute requirements.

2. Before your action, please confirm that your "new object" is not a known star, a known variable star, a known planet, or a known minor planet. Star charts or star mapping programs do not necesarily show all stars correctly. Consult multiple star charts or programs before judging that the object is new. You can check the known variable star at the GCVS home page. SN Candidate Minor Planet Checker is provided by the CBAT.

3. If you have made a discovery of a bright nova candidate (10 mag or brighter) with visual observation or on blue-sensitive photographs. Please first confirm that the object is present (look again the field visually and confirm the presence of a new object) or recorded on multiple photographs. After confirming the point 2., you don't need to hesitate reporting. In this case, you don't need to make a second night observation. It is most important to timely make bright nova/supernova discoveries available to the astronomical commnity. If you don't have a second photograph, or you don't have a chance to look at the field again, please make a report with a remark of a suspected sighting or a single-photograph detection.

4. If you have made a discovery of a nova candidate with CCD observation, you must be more careful before reporting. CCDs have unavoidably "noises" which are sometimes confused with new objects. In most cases, a comparison of different CCD frames will soon reject spurious signals. Taking the field with a slightly different orientation would be useful in avoiding a noise from instrumental origin. In either cases, you need to know the characteristics of your CCDs before making actual discoveries. Red stars are recorded bright on unfiltered CCDs (or CCDs with red-transmission filters). Some extremely red objects have been reported as false alarms. The following links will be useful in identifying red stars/other potential sources of confusion. Note that there are "high proper-motion stars" such as Barnerd's star, which is frequently reported as a new object.

2MASS Survey Visualizer
2MASS Survey Atlas
VizieR serviece
USNO PMM Pixel Server
Goddard Skyview utility
If there is no promising object is these atlases, check the point 2. and make a report. Even if your object turns to be a red object, such an object can be variable, and you will have sufficient chance to discover the variability with month-long follow-up observation. (N.B. Usual variable star discoveries should be reported to vsnet-newvar@kusastro.kyoto-u.ac.jp, not to the alert lists.)

5. Make your discovery report to VSNET. Please clarify the following information.

If you are a subscriber of the VSNET, you can probably post the report directly. Please be sure to report to the first address (vsnet-alert). Select the relevant lists (vsnet-discovery-nova, vsnet-discovery-sn), since some subscribers do not subscribe to general alerts.

If you are not a subscriber of the VSNET, please send your report to vsnet-adm@kusastro.kyoto-u.ac.jp (administration). We will forward your message (possibly after some internal checking) to the most relevant lists. Some sender addresses may be rejected by the e-mail gateway spam filter. If there is no response (or you feel your mail does not arrive us), try an e-mail to Hitoshi Yamaoka-san (yamaoka@rc.kyushu-u.ac.jp). Associated images can be also sent to Yamaoka-san, who is a renowned specialist (and proficient huge e-mail handler...) in image examination.

Related articles on VSNET

(Follow the links/threads for more information).

Nova Aql 1999 discovery story (an excellent story of a visual nova discovery!)

Short WWW page on discovery of Nova Sgr 2002 number 3 (How one can recognize a nova in a photograph?).

How not to discover novae (by Fraser Farrell)

Example of successful early report: Nova Oph 1994

Nova Confirmations Matters

Nova Confirmations (by Stan Walker)

Nova Confirmations (by Denis Buczynski)

SN Confirmation Questions

Missing GSC star confused with a new object

Extremely red object suspected to be a nova

Known variable star reported to be a nova


Astreroid confusion (1)

Astreroid confusion (2)

Barnard's star

Return to HomePage

Return to Daisaku Nogami's page


Powered by ooruri technology