This image courtesy of RBSE.
A light curve is a plot of an object's brightness over time. The brightness of a nova will gradually decrease over time.
To plot a light curve, determine the magnitudes of your novae on each data frame on which it can be seen. Then plot the brightness of the nova (in magnitudes) on the y-axis, versus time on the horizontal (X) axis. Usually the Y-axis (vertical axis) of a light curve has brighter magnitudes (i.e., lower numbers) on top and the X-axis (horizontal axis) is measured in days.
In order to make a reasonable estimate of the time it takes for our novae to decline in brightness, you will need to convert the dates on which your novae are visible to the corresponding Julian Day Numbers. You can do that here.
How long do you think it will take your novae to become so faint that we can no longer find them in the data?
Astronomers have been counting days since January 1, 4713 BC, through all the changes that have occurred in the calendar since then. We use day counts to keep track of all of the variable stars, novae, and supernovae that are discovered. We are now up to more than 2,450,000 days since the count began.
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