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AAVSO Bulletin

Matthew Templeton's picture
Matthew Templeton
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Joined: 2010-03-12

Hi everyone,

We're in the process of finishing preparations for the release of Bulletin 74 for 2011 at headquarters, and I wanted to announce a few of the features in advance.  I'd also like to use this forum topic as a place where people can come and discuss the new bulletin and its format once it's published.  We like our new design, but we've built some flexibility into the system, and we'll be able to make some modifications to the way the predictions are presented.  We're hoping that you'll like what we've done, but we'd also like to hear if there are things we can do to improve the Bulletin for you.  I invite you to post your thoughts and comments here once the Bulletin goes live and you've had a chance to try it out.

The biggest change to the Bulletin is that we are no longer printing it in a fixed-format, ASCII table as we have done in previous years.  Instead, the bulletin will be dynamically generated output in your choice of an HTML table that you can view and print from a web browser or as a comma-separated (.CSV) file that you can download and import into a spreadsheet program.  You will have some options as to how to customize your output too; you'll be able to output individual stars by request, stars within a given constellation, and stars selected by RA and Declination ranges.  You'll have some flexibility as to how you display the predicted brightness range of the stars as well.  The current edition of the Bulletin uses ASCII "+" and "-" signs to indicate when a given star will be brighter than 11.0 or fainter than 13.5.  In the new edition of the Bulletin, if you're using the HTML output, you'll be able to display these predictions using color, and you'll have the flexibility to control what colors are used depending upon your own preferences and needs.  Finally, we've also made it possible for you to display predictions for a single month only, instead of an entire year.  All of these options will be available via a form that will be made available on the website soon.  For those of you who would like to print it once and use that as your reference, we'll also make the entire Bulletin available in a PDF version of the HTML-based output as well as a .CSV file that you can also download.

We've put a lot of thought and work into the new Bulletin, and we hope that you'll enjoy it and find it useful. Most importantly, we hope that it will encourage you to go out and observe!  Stay tuned to the front page of the website and to our Bulletin page for the release of Bulletin 74!

The NEW BULLETIN !!!
SXN's picture
SXN
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Joined: 2010-03-12

I have to admit I had several sneak previews of the new Bulletin as it was being developed, but that doesn't diminish my ecxitement about the new format one bit. All the formats available makes this about 100 times more useful to observers than before and the graphical display and customization options of the html version are great! Kudos to Matt and Elizabeth.

Tonight is supposed to be a long clear one for me, so I plan to quit work a little early, give the new Bulletin a good workout and observe all night long. 

Bulletin 74, revision 1
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Matthew Templeton
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Joined: 2010-03-12

Hello everyone,

This is a short information message regarding Bulletin 74.  We've adressed a few minor bugs in the programs that create and display the Bulletin program, and as a result, we are revising the formally published number of stars in Bulletin 74 from 371 to 381.  You will now find that the .PDF and .CSV files and the online Bulletin Generator now have 378 stars, with R Cen, R Nor, and V Boo published in a separate table on the website, for a total of 381 stars.  For a complete and current copy of Bulletin 74, please download the fixed files or regenerate your own with the Bulletin Generator.

The following stars were added to Bulletin 74 in Revision 1: S Cas, S Tau, RU Aur, Z Tau, RU Tau, Y Vel, RY Car, RW Lyr, X Cep, and S Aqr.

In the next week, I will write a short post to this forum regarding the stars left out of the Bulletin.

Clear skies,
Matthew

Stars dropped from Bulletin 74 for 2011
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Matthew Templeton
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Joined: 2010-03-12

Hello everyone,

This is a followup to my last message regarding dropped stars from the Bulletin.

The current issue of the AAVSO Bulletin (Bulletin 74 for 2011) contains predictions for 381 stars.  This is a significant reduction from the 562 stars that appeared in Bulletins up through Bulletin 73 for 2010.  The primary reason for the reduction was the decision at headquarters to remove stars for which we did not have mean curves.  AAVSO mean curves were generated for the most regular of the LPV stars with coverage from the AAVSO's founding through the 1950s.  These are for the most part the stars published in Part II of Leon Campbell's Studies of Long Period Variables.  There were two reasons the non-mean curve stars were dropped: (1) the remaining stars only had substantial coverage from about 1965 onwards (50 years, rather than 100), and (2) the generation of predictions for stars without mean curves requires additional time that is scarce at AAVSO Headquarters.  We are slowly examining the dropped stars to see whether there is great need to add them back in, and it's possible we will do so after consideration.  It is also possible that we may drop some of the current Bulletin stars given the limited amount of data available for some of them.

I want to note that the decision to drop stars from the Bulletin is not a signal to cease all visual observations of non-Bulletin stars.  In terms of prioritization, our goal is to encourage the greatest coverage of stars where visual observing can do the most good, namely of those with the longest and best-sampled visual light curves.  We want to encourage observers to continue with the longest and best-observed stars in hopes of continuing the high-quality of these light curves for the forseeable future, increasing their value for doing good science.  Once those most-critically important stars are covered, then by all means continue to observe other visual targets!  It's also important to note that a few of the stars dropped from the Bulletin (including one of my favorites, T Ursae Minoris) cannot be predicted any longer because their behavior has fundamentally changed.  In such cases, continued observation is strongly encouraged, despite their not being in the Bulletin.  We need more visual observations of these stars in order to understand these changes as they occur!

The following twelve stars dropped from the Bulletin appear in the AAVSO LPV Program list, and so their observation is still encouraged despite their not appearing in Bulletin 74: RV AND, SZ AND, TU AND, VX AND, RR AUR, RR BOO, VZ CAS, BG CYG, WY CYG, SY HER, VX SGR, and T UMI.  You may find the full list of LPV Legacy and LPV Program stars at the LPV Section website.  Observers are encouraged to look over these lists and add as many stars as possible into your visual observing programs.  You may also find the full list of stars dropped from the LPV Bulletin here, and it will also be linked on the LPV Section website.

Clear skies, & good observing!
Matthew

LPV Bulletin 75
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puj
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Joined: 2010-07-24

I checked the details of  the 381 LPV stars gathered in the 2012 version of the Bulletin. My first impression was that the number of stars was enlarged compared to bulletin 74, But It was not. Furthermore the short list of 12 stars included in the LPV program and mentioned  above were not included in bulletin 75.

I still observe many neglected LPV that are not in the bulletin. I regret to forget them: I am talking of DS HER, BR DEL, SZ AND, RY AND, TY LYR, EU AQL , SV AQL and many others...

Should we stop observing these stars to concentrate just in the 381 of the bulletin ?.

Best regards.

PUJ

Bulletin 75
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Matthew Templeton
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Joined: 2010-03-12

Francisco,

Not at all, please continue observing all of your usual targets if you would like to keep observing them.  Nothing has changed since last year -- we want people to use the bulletin stars to help them plan an observing program, but you do not need to stop observing other stars.

We reduced the number of bulletin stars based primarily on two things: whether we had a mean curve for the star, and whether the star was regular enough to continue doing predictions for it.  There are a few stars that used to be in the Bulletin that we cannot predict anymore, but further observations are very, very strongly encouraged -- T Ursae Minoris being my favorite example.

The Bulletin list, LPV Program, LPV Legacy, and LPV Binocular lists have stars whose light curves are already so good that we want to make absolutely sure observers continue contributing to them, but they are not the final word on what is interesting.  We think the science yield from our lists will be higher than following less-observed stars, but there are certainly interesting stars among those not on the lists.  My advice is to give priority to our lists, and then use your best judgement and your knowledge of the light curves that you've already made to determine what to observe beyond that.  If you have particular favorites, by all means please keep observing them.

Clear skies,

Matthew

Suggestion for file format
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CMJA
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Joined: 2010-10-01

Hi Matthew,

I'd like to see the csv file formatted so that the minimum and maximum magnitudes are separated. Right now these are lumped together as <8.4-13.2>

Also, I'd like to see the minima and maxima stored as a date, so rather than having MAX(10) in an DEC column (for December 30, 2013), the month columns would be eliminated altogether and substituted for Maxima and minima date columns each having their respective maxima and minima ISO dates (in the format yyyy-mm-dd).

Thanks for your attention.

Michael

AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 aavso@aavso.org 617-354-0484