I thought I was going to miss the whole thing. I really did. When Nova Delphini “popped” a few nights ago, it coincided with the onset of a period of truly grotty weather here in Cumbria (after some lovely clear nights, of course!) and as I watched the nova’s light curve climb, and read excited reports from people all around the world, and drooled over their images, only to have my own efforts thwarted by a godawful cloud-clotted sky, I thought “This is going to be the one that got away…”
Friday night looked a little more promising, with a few scattered gaps in the cloud around 11pm, but by the time I got up to the castle with my gear this is what the sky looked like. Nova Delphini is behind that orange crud, somewhere…
Then yesterday… and all day torrential rain battered Kendal, great curtains of it sweeping across us, and as night fell the sky was just a blank, orange-black sheet, thick and fat with cloud. Inside I watched the nova’s magnitude curve start to fall back as its magnitude faded, and I was starting to resign myself to just not seeing it. But never one to give up on these things I went out around 00.30 this morning and set up in the field at Abbot Hall Park, hoping against hope that the teeny tiny gaps appearing in the cloud might knit together and allow me at least a fleeting glimpse of the nova…
It was the right thing to do. Finally, around 01.00, a gap appeared in just the right place, and there it was!
Soon the gap had widened to allow me to see the whole of the Summer Triangle, and give me a clear view of the nova, but with more legions of dark cloud gathering low in the south west I knew my time with the nova would be short, so I just fired off as many photos as possible, trying different exposures, different lenses, just wringing every drop out of the time. When the cloud rolled back over the nova I was more than happy, and not a little relieved too… 🙂
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