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Galactic nova identified: scientific results from Calar Alto Academy 2021

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The program Calar Alto Academy, in its 2021 edition, has allowed the identification of the galactic nova AT2021kgk, leading to the publication of the details and conclusions of the observation, and the spectrum of the source as well, in professional scientific channels.

The students and teachers from the University of Barcelona decided devoting part of their observing time of their practical work to obtain spectra of a transient source named AT2021kgk, whose discovery had been announced 3 nights before.

The data were obtained during the night from the 22nd to the 23rd of April 2021 with instrument CAFOS attached to the 2.2 m Zeiss reflector of Calar Alto Observatory. As stated by Nadia Blagorodovna (one of the teachers in charge of the students’ team), the observations allowed “identifying the main emission lines of hydrogen, helium, nitrogen and oxygen, pointing to a galactic nova”. Fernando Comerón (also one of the instructors) indicates that “the spectrum clearly shows the H-alpha line, with a P Cygni profile that is more evident in other lines further towards the red side”. The analysis concludes that the remains of the explosion expand at almost 2000 interior enkm/s.  Judith Ardèvol, one of the students, underlines and thanks that this experience “gave us the chance to get in touch directly with the classification of a nova, and to appear in the list of authors

The Calar Alto Academy program offers Calar Alto facilities to several Spanish universities, for their students to develop practical astronomical observations in real life conditions. Due to the pandemics, the 2021 edition has been executed in remote mode, with the participation of teams from the universities Complutense of Madrid, Autónoma of Madrid, Granada, and Barcelona, being this last responsible of the observation of the galactic nova AT2021kgk.




Calar Alto Observatory is one of the infrastructures that belong to the national map of Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (Spanish acronym: ICTS), approved on November 6th, 2018, by the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Council


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