Shallow Sky Object of the Month: V1427 Aql

Original article appears in GuideStar August, 2015.

Finder chart

Finder chart

V1427 Aql –What is this?

By Bill Pellerin, GuideStar Editor

Object: V1427 Aql
Class: Not sure
Magnitude: 8.0 to 10 (depending on who you believe)
R.A.:  19 h, 13 m, 59 s
Dec:  00 degrees, 07 minutes, 32 seconds
Distance:   3000 ly to 18000 ly
Constellation:  Aql
Spectral: G5
Optics needed: Small telescope

Why this object is interesting:

This object was brought to may attention by the book Annals of the Deep Sky by Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb. So, in this issue we have an interview with Jeff Kanipe and an object of interest identified by Jeff and his working partner Dennis Webb.

There is some controversy about what this star really is. If it is a low mass star, similar to our Sun, it is entering a phase of its existence prior to becoming a planetary nebula; if it is a high mass star it is on a path to becoming a supernova. If it’s a low mass star it’s about three thousand light years away; if it’s a high mass star it is about 18000 light years away.

The star is metal deficient (lacking chemical elements heaver than helium). So, as you might guess there is plenty of hydrogen and helium, and there are traces of oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. This collection of elements would be unusual for similar G class giant stars. Also, the bipolar structure of the envelope surrounding the star is typical of a protoplanetary star.

Understanding what this star is requires knowing the distance to the star. Once that is known, the status of the star will be determined because its mass can be determined.

Otherwise, we have to wait for the star to identify itself as a low-mass end-of-life star by becoming a planetary nebula or as a high mass star by becoming a supernova.

The item about this star in Annals of the Deep Sky begins on page 20 and ends on page 24, so there’s a lot more information in that book.

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