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Visual Magnitudes and the "Average Observer":



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Richard H. Stanton

217 Starlane Drive

La Canada, CA 91011


Presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the AAVSO, October 31, 1998; revised June 13, 1999




Results of the V-Magnitude Experiment - 1998, designed to characterize the vision of the "average observer," are discussed. Over 650 individual observations were analyzed, submitted by 63 observers worldwide. These data lead to summary conclusions in two important areas: (1) effect of star color on observed star magnitude, and (2) the range of observation scatter expected for observers using perfect comparison star sequences. Quantitative color response measurements for 48 individuals, when compared to the "average observer," show variations generally consistent with measured levels of observation scatter. Based on these data, a color coefficient value of b = 0.21 is recommended for translating Johnson magnitudes (UBV) into visual magnitudes (mv).

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