Nova or lens flare?

I’ve been shooting stars and planets the last few nights (see here and here), as the Moon passes by Mercury, Jupiter and Venus. It’s the kind of thing obsessives do, when they combine devotions to astronomy and photography. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to identify a few of the stars in the neighborhood Venus was visiting, when I found a star where none should be.

Take a look at the two photos above. The original one on the right is here. On that one I note names and other data for all the main stars in the shot other than the bright blue one near the middle. It’s not on any start chart I’ve consulted. Sooo… what is it?

My fantasy was a nova of some kind. But I doubt that’s it. Judging from the color alone, I’d say it’s a lens flare. Meanwhile it was fun doing detective work with The Kid.

One response to “Nova or lens flare?”

  1. My guess is that it’s an internal reflection in the lens. If you can reproduce the result, just change the aim point of the lens, and your “nova” should move at twice (or more) times the angular displacement of the aim point.

    Notice the asymmetrical shape. That suggests one of the reflection points is near the edge of a lens (your camera probably has a multi-component lens structure).

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