Discovery News has a new web article on the history of the relationship between humans and the star Algol. Algol appears as the location of the climax in Lovecraft’s fiction in “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” (1919)…

“You on earth have unwittingly felt its distant presence — you who without knowing idly gave the blinking beacon the name of Algol, the Demon-Star.”

Lovecraft gives Algol as the location for a nova star, Nova Persei, which had indeed happened in fact…

“On 22 February 1901, the discovery of a naked-eye nova, Nova Persei, was announced.” — from: Agnes Mary Clerke and the Rise of Astrophysics, p.145.

S.T. Joshi says in An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia that the…

“account of the nova [was] taken verbatim from his [Lovecraft’s] copy of Garrett P. Serviss’s Astronomy with the Naked Eye (1908).”

My recent book, Walking with Cthulhu, also examines possible borrowings from Serviss.

I’ve also just now found that Popular Science ran a long article on “New Stars” in January 1919, and the story “Beyond The Wall of Sleep” was written in the Spring on 1919. The article was triggered by the then-recent naked-eye Nova Aquilae, and recalls the Nova Persei of 1901…

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