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VStar Plug-in Library

One of the features of VStar is that it is set up so that you, the user, can think up new and interesting new ways to use the basic program. You can do this by creating your own plug-in or by using ones that others have created to extend the power of VStar. If you are interested in creating your own, please read the documentation on how to do this. If you would like to see some plug-ins that others have created, you have come to the right place.

This page contains a list of VStar plug-ins which we feel might be of use to you. If you are looking for general information about VStar or would like to find out how to get it, please go to the the VStar overview and download page.

How to Use VStar Plug-ins

  1. Create a folder called vstar_plugins. This folder must be located in your home directory which varies depending on your operating system:
    • Windows Vista and 7: C:\Users\<username>
    • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>
    • Mac OS X: /Users/<username>
    • Linux, or Unix: /home/<username>
  2. Select a plug-in from the list below and download it to your computer.
  3. Place the .jar file into the folder you created in Step 1.
  4. For the SuperWASP and Kepler source plug-ins, download the file tamfits.jar and put it in a folder called vstar_plugin_libs in your home directory.

If you have placed the plug-in correctly, you should be able to see it listed in the appropriate menu next time you run VStar. Just which menu will show the plug-in depends on the plug-in type:

  • Observation Source - will appear in the File menu
  • Observation Tool - will appear in the Tool menu
  • General Tool - will appear in the Tool menu
  • Custom Filter - will appear in the View => Custom Filters sub-menu
  • Period Analysis - will appear in the Analysis => Period Search menu
  • Model Creator - will appear in the Analysis menu

 

Available Plug-ins

Click here to download a .zip file
containing the complete set.

Observation Source:

Observation Tool:

General Tool:

Custom Filter:

Model Creator:



Name: AAVSOUploadFileFormatObservationSource.jar (6K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This plugin will allow you to open files that are either in the "AAVSO Extended File Format" or "AAVSO Visual File Format". It is hoped that this will be useful to anyone wishing to view, analyze, or check their own data files. It is also the same format as that exported from VPHOT. Please note that this plugin accepts files with dates given in either JD or HJD.
Author: David Benn working with Ken Mogul and Alan Plummer
Date of last revision: 11 July 2013


 



Name: ASASObservationSource.jar (6K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This plugin allows you to open text files in the format of the All Sky Automated Survey (ASAS). Data files can be downloaded from the ASAS website or by using the AAVSO's VSX in the following manner:
  1. Search for a star, then click on its name to get details.
  2. Scroll down to the "External Links" section and select "ASAS light curve" from the drop-down list. Click "Go".
  3. Click the "GetData" button to view the data used, then copy and paste that into a text file.
Sample Data: ASAS-R_Car.txt (126K)
Author: Mark Blackford & David Benn
Date of last revision: 20 May 2013



Name: CatalinaSkySurveyObservationSource.jar (4K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This plugin allows you to open files in the format of the Catalina Sky Survey (http://crts.caltech.edu/index.html). To get a datafile suitable for plotting in VStar, go to the "Object Search" form here: http://nesssi.cacr.caltech.edu/cgi-bin/getcssconedbid_release2.cgi and enter the name of the object. Save the data to a file or copy and paste it into a text file. Then on VStar's menu, select File > New Star from Catalina Sky Survey File...
Documentation: Instructions for using this plugin can be found here (496KB PDF written by Gordon Myers)
Author: David Benn
Date of last revision: 17 December 2012



Name: DASCHObservationSource.jar (4K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This is a VStar observation source plug-in which reads DASCH (Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard) data from an input file in tab-delimited "Starbase table" (.txt) format. See bugs-and-features #439 on SourceForge for VStar. More information is available at http://dasch.rc.fas.harvard.edu/lightcurve.php. To use this plugin, select “New Star from DASCH file …” from the File menu. The initial plot is somewhat distorted along the Y-axis by very large error bars - select Plot Control from the View menu and un-check the “Excluded” box in Visibility of Data.
Documentation: Instructions for using this plugin can be found here (2.1MB PDF)
Author: Paul York
Date of last revision: 6 September 2014



Name: HipparcosObservationSource.jar (5K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This plugin will allow you to read Hipparcos/Tycho Catalogue Data in the format exemplified at http://www.rssd.esa.int/hipparcos_scripts/HIPcatalogueSearch.pl?hipepId=76343 for star HIP 76343 … It can read the data either as a URL or a local file. The Hipparcos Variable Stars page describes some prototypical stars measured by Hipparcos, together with their HIP numbers. To find the data for a star, construct a URL like the one above replacing “76343” with the HIP number of interest. To find the HIP number for a star, check out the SIMBAD source name resolver. Please note that Hipparcos makes use of the Barycentric Julian Date (BJD). For more information see the Hipparcos Catalogue: Epoch Photometry Annex (page 220).
Author: Paul York
Date of last revision: 15 September 2014



Name: KeplerFITSObservationSource.jar (4K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This plugin will allow you to import FITS file format (Version 2.0) data from the NASA Kepler mission into VStar.
Sample Data: kplr_RRLyr.fits (168K) - Click here to get the form for downloading Kepler data.
Notes: To use this plug-in you must also download tamfits.jar (131K) and place it in your vstar_plugin_libs folder in your home directory. The code was developed using the Topcat FITS library. For an example on how to download and use Kepler data in VStar see this post from David Benn's blog.
Documentation: Instructions for using this plugin can be found here (693KB PDF written by Brad Walter)
Author: David Benn working with Doug Welch
Date of last revision: 10 November 2010



Name: NSVSObservationSource.jar (5K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This plugin will enable you load data you can download from the Northern Sky Variability Study (NSVS) - http://skydot.lanl.gov/nsvs/nsvs.php
Documentation: Instructions for using this plugin can be found here (462KB PDF written by Barbara Harris)
Author: David Benn
Date of last revision: 26 June 2014



Name: SuperWASPFITSObservationSource.jar (7K)
Type: Observation Source
Description: This plugin will allow you to import FITS file format data from the SuperWASP program into VStar.
Sample Data: 1SWASP+J235014.28%2B512358.8.fits (233K), 1SWASP+J185717.70-380829.6.fits (119K)
Notes: To use this plug-in you must also download tamfits.jar (168K) and place it in your vstar_plugin_libs folder in your home directory. The code was developed using the Topcat FITS library. Updated version includes CCD X, Y, flux, and fluxerr.
Author: David Benn working with Doug Welch
Date of last revision: 20 May 2013



Name: PeriodLuminosityDistanceCalculator.jar - a.k.a Leavitt's Law distance calculator (4K)
Type: Observation Tool
Description: This plugin will compute the absolute magnitude and distance to a Cepheid variable based on the Period-Luminosity relationship. You can input the average apparent magnitude and the period to the equation.
Documentation: Instructions for using this plugin can be found here (340KB PDF written by Barbara Harris). Please note that this plugin now appears as "Leavitt's Law distance calculator..." in VStar's Tool menu.
Author: David Benn
Date of last revision: 30 April 2013



Name: JDToDateTool.jar (2K)
Type: General Tool
Description: This plugin will give you the calendar date for any JD you type in.
Author: David Benn
Date of last revision: 10 November 2010



Name: MeanTimeBetweenSelectionTool.jar (7K)
Type: Observation Tool
Description: This plugin will record the mean JD and magnitude between selections you make on the plot.
Author: David Benn (as requested by Mike Simonsen)
Date of last revision: 22 March 2011

 



Name: ObserversBySeries.jar (3K)
Type: Observation Tool
Description: This plugin will allow you to display, for each loaded series, the observer codes of all observers who have contributed observations to that series. To use the plugin, select “Observers by Series...” from the Tool menu.
Author: David Benn and Paul York
Date of last revision: 14 July 2014

 



Name: ObserverListFilter.jar (2K)
Type: Custom Filter
Description: A filter tool plugin that will allow the user to enter a group of observer codes so that they can be highlighted. Ideal for showing the contributed observations from a paticular club or group of people.
Author: Sara Beck (by slightly modifying the CustomFilterTest.jar plugin by David Benn)
Date of last revision: 21 February 2011
Source code: ObserverListFilter.java



Name: ApacheCommonsLowessFitter.jar (6K)
Type: Model Creator
Description: This plugin creates a locally weighted scatterplot smoothing fit of the specified series. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_regression for more information about the algorithm. The Loess interpolator in the Apache Commons Math library (already used by VStar to implement ANOVA) is used.
Author: David Benn
Date of last revision: 17 November 2012



Name: FourierModelCreator.jar (2.3K)
Type: Model Creator
Description: Takes as input a series of observations and creates a model based upon one or more user-specified periods and one or more harmonics per period.
Documentation: Instructions for using this plugin can be found here (335KB PDF written by David Benn)
Author: David Benn
Date of last revision: 6 October 2014



Additional Resources

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