|Nova Delphini 2013 was discovered on August 14th in 2013, peaked two days later at magnitude 4.4, and by November 10th was down to magnitude 11.2. It has been quite red. See this preliminary light curve from the AAVSO.|
The field of the nova is easy to locate north of the familiar star pattern of Delphinus. To its west, Sagitta, the Arrow, points toward it.
Here's a 10°-wide comparison-star chart from the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). The nova is the cross at center. As the nova dims, make an appropriate new chart with the comparison-chart maker starting on the a href="http://www.aavso.org/" target="new_window">AAVSO home page. The AAVSO's comparison-star magnitudes are the ones to use, so that everyone's estimates will be made consistently.
Discovery of Nova Delphini 2013
The nova was discovered by Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata, Japan, in an image taken at 14hh Universal Time (2 p.m. EDT) on August 14th. It was not present in a photo that he took the previous day. Here is the announcement from the IAU's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. Nova Delphini 2013 was apparently 17th magnitude before erupting, so it brightened roughly 100,000-fold to its peak on August 16th.
What Is A Nova?
A classical nova happens in a special kind of tightly-orbiting binary star system: one where a relatively normal star pours a stream of hydrogen onto the surface of a companion white dwarf. When the layer of fresh hydrogen on the white dwarf's surface grows thick and dense enough, the bottom of the layer explodes in a runaway hydrogen-fusion reaction — a hydrogen bomb in the shape of a thin shell roughly the size of Earth. The underlying white dwarf remains intact, and as new hydrogen builds up, the process may repeat in a few years to tens of thousands of years.