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CCD Observing Manual

The CCD Observing Manual is designed to be a basic introduction and guide to using CCDs to perform photometry of variable stars. With care, you can use a backyard telescope to obtain astrophysically useful data that matches the quality of those produced by professional astronomers, using exactly the same principles and techniques that are used at larger research observatories around the world. The target audience for this manual are beginner- to intermediate-level CCD observers interested in learning how to perform variable star photometry and submitting data to the AAVSO. Advanced CCD users who have not done any photometry may also find this helpful.

Currently the CCD Observing Manual is only in PDF format, rather than as a web page.  You can download the Manual at the link below:

CCD Observing Manual


Calibration: transformations and extinction

Previous users of the CCD Observing Manual will note that we have removed a substantial amount of material on photometric calibration and transformation of data onto standard photometric systems. Such material is intended for advanced observers, and is beyond the scope of an introductory manual. However, it is of major importance to the advanced observer community.  We plan on developing "how-to" guides to advanced calibration and photometry during the next year.  Calibration will also be heavily featured in AAVSO Director Arne Henden's upcoming book on CCD photometry. Stay tuned for updates on these projects during the coming year!

For the time being, observers interested in calibrating their systems and performing a full transformation of their data to standard systems may consult this document authored by Dr. Gordon Sarty (U. Saskatchewan).

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