Skip to main content

History in the making

Posted by M.Saladyga on March 21, 2011 - 1:12pm

Part of a series celebrating 100 years of the AAVSO

The other morning, Doc Kinne, our systems guy, remarked that during the past weeks since breaking the 20M barrier, the AAVSO received over 50,000 variable star observations--or about 25,000 in one week. The remark caused our heads to nod appreciatively for a moment, but then we turned back to our work and thought nothing more of it. It is not that we are blase about it, it's just that our expectations have changed with the times--we expect to receive 20 or 30 thousand observations each week, just as, ten years ago we expected to receive 7 or 8 thousand per week.

Here are some historical numbers that the AAVSO's database of 20,051,000+ observations are built upon:

* 1911 (first month) 198 observations contributed to the AAVSO by 7 observers in the AAVSO's first monthly report in 2011; about 50 per week

* 1911-1912 about 235 observations per week

* 1921-1922 ~400/week

* 1931-1932 ~740/week

* 1941-1942 ~650/week

* 1951-1952 ~1,350/week

* 1961-1962 ~1,330/week

* 1971-1972 ~2,660/week

* 1981-1982 ~4,110/week

* 1991-1992 ~5,870/week

* 2001-2002 ~7,900/week



I think this is till but a trickle.  In the next few years computer automation will do the analysis as well as telescope control.  I've still only proceesed 5-10% of the total imagerey I've taken for photometry reduction...Thanks to programs like CCDAutopilot, we can shoot
10-20 different variable per night and generate 1-3Gb of image data per run...all while when the photometry reduction becomes automated, AASVO will probably receive 50-100K observation per week if the same or greater number of observers continue.

James Foster

Los Angeles, CA

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