According to John Bortle, CI UMa is in outburst.
This CV as well as ER UMa and DI UMa have newly revised sequences, so you should update your charts ASAP.
CI UMa is on my observing list and I see I got it at 14.5V night before last (and slightly brighter last night) but failed to notice it and, hence, put out an alert.
My problem is I have some 80 targets on my list in play on any given night. I've been using the LCG to check on them but it is time consuming and sometimes, as in this case, I miss a big change. Is there some other way to get faster feedback? I'm thinking to set up a little data base of my recent observations. Has anyone done that, or something similar?
VSNET used to be the go-to source for the most recent notices of new outbursts, fades, etc. There are probably informal e-mail "networks" amongst AAVSO members for individual stars or particular kinds of stars. I sometimes use the MyNewsFlash service as a rough guide to planning a night's observing. It helps me decide whether I need to observe a particular star - say, if it's started to fade - or skip it if it has no recent activity. I observe only a couple of CVs, the rest being the relatvely slow-changing RCBs and NLs.
WebObs has has a neat feature that allows you to download your own observations. You can specify to download all your observations or only those between specific dates. Options for downloading the observations in a text file or a zipped file. The file can easily be imported into a batabase program, such as Excel. I used this feature to initially populate a database of my observations, which I have kept updated manually since then. Here is the link to where you can download your observations: http://www.aavso.org/webobs/download.
Since I'm running ACP, I took advantage of the scripting to add realtime outburst detection. The computer announces any interesting activity (as defined by me) seen in the first exposure of each object. Of course that doesn't help if I'm not listening, but I could easily add a line of code to have it email me.
I also have a script I can run after the session; it quickly goes through and detects outbursts after the fact (but before I get around to doing the photometry).
It's always nice when we can get the machines working for us for a change...
"WebObs has has a neat feature that allows you to download your own observations."
Yes, I've been thinking about that. Of course, for an initial data base population I would like to include observatiions by others to set a base line.
Given that I have a record of past observations, per star, how could I quickly and easily recognize an outburst (or fade). When I look at a light curve the ol' brain-eye connection works pretty fast. With a machine I can envision some sort of comparison to a recent running average?
"Since I'm running ACP..."
I am somewhat familiar with ACP, just not ready to spend that much money.
Your script is interesting, would you share? I'm more than a bit curious how it detects outbursts before the photometry. Or are you speaking of preliminary before final photometry?
Years ago Steve Brady used ACP (and ACP Scheduler?) to monitor many CV's...but if one of them was in an outburst state (I think the logic was if the object was more than 4 magnitdues brighter than the quiescent level, as defined by the user)...the schedule was dynamically, automatically changed. The monitoring program stopped, and time-series was initiated on the outbursting object. (And I think automated alert messages were generated from this event.) This was done without manual intervention, often in the middle of the night...and Steve would read about it the next morning.
Yes I can share it, though it will not work at all without ACP/PinPoint since it depends on their magic widgets.
The realtime detection occurs simply by looking at the first exposure (uncalibrated image) and doing a quick measure of the variable's brightness (using PinPoint). The var may or may not be visible in a single exposure. Yes, the measure will be rough, but it is more than adequate for detecting an outburst.
ACP is not really that much money. I have several thousand hours of imaging with it, so the cost per hour is dropping every night (I bought my copy in 2003 and am still running that version). When you factor in all the nights I've been able to sleep through while it was running the show, it is truly priceless. Of course, value is in the eye of the beholder.
Of course Steve has hit on the optimal software setup. Since I'm still running an old ACP version, I can't use Scheduler. However, my system does throttle the number of exposures according to the observed brightness of the var in the first exposure (for both CVs and LPVs). This has boosted the number of stars I can do per night and gives at least some of the functionality of Steve's system.
A request to have HQ send you all observations of a particular star can be made at http://www.aavso.org/data-download.
Any submitted observation is immediately (or very nearly so) and automatically added to the Quick Look list, accessible at http://www.aavso.org/ql. The comment codes you are already familiar with are at the end of each row. Try it out - you'll see your observations of RU Peg from last night. The Quick Look list is the fastest real-time source for finding out the skinny that I am familiar with.
For those who are interested in CV aoutburst I can recomment the AAVSO CV Section website (CVnet): https://sites.google.com/site/aavsocvsection/ and the [CVnet-outburs] list: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/cvnet-outburst/
One can also subscribe to the [vsnet-alert] and/or the [baavss-alert] list too.
CI UMa seems to have completed its recent outburst.
(Thanks, Lauren, for the help with the image.)