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DQ Herculis (or Nova Herculis 1934) was a slow, bright nova occurring in Hercules in December 1934. The nova was discovered on 13 December 1934 by J. P. M. Prentice from Stowmarket, Suffolk.[2] It reached peak brightness on 22 December 1934 with an apparent magnitude of 1.5.[3] The nova remained visible to the naked eye for several months.[4]

DQ Herculis

DQ Herculis
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Hercules
Right ascension 18h 07m 30.25s
Declination +45° 51′ 32.6″
Apparent magnitude (V) 15.16
Spectral type DBe+M2V
Variable type DQ Herculis
Radial velocity (Rv)-4 km/s
[1] pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV)12.99
Mass0.7/0.4 M
Radius0.012/0.44 R
Luminosity0.0064/0.03 L
Temperature14,500/3,500 K
Period (P)0.0002 yr
Semi-major axis (a)0.003 AU
Inclination (i)81.7°
Other designations
NOVA Her 1934, CDS 959, PLX 4164, 1SWASP 180730.28+455131.9, AN 452.1934, GCRV 10587, 2RXP J180730.0+455136, DQ Her, CSI+45-18061, 2MASS J18073024+4551325, SBC7 665, AAVSO 1804+45
Database references

DQ Herculis is the prototype for a category of cataclysmic variable stars called intermediate polars. The system shows orbital period variation, possibly due to the presence of a third body.[5]

In popular cultureEdit

The nova was one of the brightest objects observable in the night sky. In addition to scientific articles, and received significant coverage in popular news publications.[6][7] Brad Ricca, an English professor at Case Western Reserve University, has suggested that Nova Herculis may have influenced the development of the origin story of the comic book superhero Superman.[8]


  1. ^ Harrison, Thomas E.; et al. (2013). "Hubble Space Telescope Fine Guidance Sensor Parallaxes for Four Classical Novae". The Astrophysical Journal. 767 (1). 7. arXiv:1302.3245. Bibcode:2013ApJ...767....7H. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/767/1/7.
  2. ^ "DQ Her". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  3. ^ Wright, W. H. (1935). "Comments on Nova Herculis 1934". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 47 (275): 47–49. Bibcode:1935PASP...47...47.. doi:10.1086/124534. JSTOR 40670634.
  4. ^ "Nova Herculis, Discovered in December 1934, Varies From First to Thirteenth Magnitudes--Now Fading, About Sixth". 1935-12-07. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  5. ^ Dai & Qian; Qian, S. B. (2009). "Plausible explanations for the variations of orbital period in the old nova DQ Herculis". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 503 (3): 883–888. Bibcode:2009A&A...503..883D. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200810909.
  6. ^ Waldemar Kaempffert (1934-12-23). "The Week In Science: STAR OF BETHLEHEM A NOVA?; Recent Brilliant Outburst Recalls the Orb the Magi Followed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  7. ^ "Science: Nova Herculis; Swaseya". Time. 1934-12-31. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  8. ^ "Superman's Origins Possibly Born from Star Explosion". 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2013-08-07.

External linksEdit