The Challenge of the Search
But Pereira wasn't always so fortunate. He began hunting for novae in 1981 at age 18 but soon gave up because of the daunting difficulty of the task. He resumed his binocular searches six years later but did so only sporadically. It wasn't until 1991 that he started a program of "serious" hunting. And after 500 hours of searching, he was rewarded with his first nova. On December 1, 1999, while searching through an open window in his house, he found Nova Aquilae 1999 No. 2 (V1494 Aquilae) shining at about 6th magnitude. Within a day it had flared to magnitude 3.6.
"I caught [Nova Aquilae 1999 No. 2] just a few minutes after I had started another evening session. I had swept [Scutum], and raising the 14 x 100s [northeast] I scanned central Aquila where I go deep to magnitude 8.5. I had the intention of switching to 9 X 34s since these areas were higher in the sky, but then I saw a bright object that completely disturbed even the main 'skeleton' of my binocular patterns. . . . My heart pounded!"