Clouds passing over made it a difficult night for observations. The airglow was unusually strong to the south - still almost invisible to the naked eye but strong enough to look like the aurora borealis on a long exposure photograph. This was a 30s exposure at ISO 6400.
Novae are explosions that happen on certain types of stars. The star gets up to a million times brighter than it was, but they are quite rare and years can go by without a nova being visible to the naked eye. Nova Centauri 2013 exploded on 2 December 2013, and was easily visible to the naked eye at its brightest. It was quite strange to see Alpha and Beta Centauri joined by a third star that's not normally there.