I had a nice look at CTA 102 last evening; finding it to be of 12.4 magnitude.
However, something that I find more interesting in regard to this strange object caught my attention when examining its behavior over the course of the past three months. Early on in the outburst CTA 102’s brightness rose slowly but in a rather steady fashion. That is up until nearly the very end of November. At that time we saw the first of it extraordinary brightness flares, the first of which took CTA 102 rather abruptly from magnitude 13.0 to 11.8 in just a couple of days. This initial event took about two weeks to die away, ultimately leaving the object at about 13.5 magnitude.
Then at mid month CTA 102 underwent a second outburst/flaring, quickly taking it once again back to magnitude 11.8 to be followed once again by a progressive decay in its brightness back to 13.4 . Unexpectedly, a further new such event was initiated just days later with the same amplitude again. But this time CTA 102 only fell to 12.5 before immediately initiating yet another flare! In the last week, or so, it appears that these events are coming every couple of days!
Perhaps the strangest aspect of all, however, is that carefully looking over the object’s overall light curve reveals that taking the mean brightness of each of the recent flarings corresponds to an extrapolation of the slope exhibited by its brightness in previous months. In other words CTA 102’s recent brightness simply has the flarings simply superimposed upon its constant brightening trend.
This seemingly being so, one wonders just how bright the object is going to grow and what bizarre, unexpected aspects, it will develop? I certainly wish that CTA 102 were not slipping steadily down into the west these nights as it could prove to be most interest to see just what in in store next!
Edited by BrooksObs, 26 December 2016 - 12:06 PM.