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Recent changes and upgrades in VSX

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Sebastian Otero
Sebastian Otero's picture
Recent changes and upgrades in VSX

Hello all,

In recent weeks we have been working to add some new features to VSX -besides adding more new variables to our database (e.g. we have added nearly 34,000 new Southern objects from the recently released SSS catalogue from the Catalina survey)-.

One of the new features is the possibility to make a draft of your new submission/revision and save it for future work before actually submitting it to us. This is another step to prevent faulty submissions. You can work as much as you need before actually pushing the Submit button.
Working with the draft option will also allow you to add multiple files and multiple references to a single submission.
There may be cases when you use different data sources and now you can properly reference them all.
Or a variable star may have several periods or even variability types and you may want to add several light curves. With this option, you don't need to wait for a moderator to set your submission to the reviewing stage to be able to add more files. Just save your draft and when you open it again you will have these additional fields to use as you wish.

When you submit a new star you can now edit the revision comment field. This is meant for cases when you add information based on a given reference or your own work but at the same time that information makes use or has been modified with data from another source.
Up to now you were only able to add remarks to new submissions so people wrote things like "Mean magnitude from APASS" or "UCAC4 position" in the remarks section when that was not actually something that you would write as a remark (remarks are meant to show something on the star's nature or about the photometry, e.g. blending, different periods, orbital periods for pulsating variables, etc, etc).

We have also added proper motion information for almost 250,000 stars from Gaia DR1, UCAC4 and HIPPARCOS. This information will give you an idea of what is happening if a variable star does not come up at the expected position, like it has happened recently with AAVSO campaigns including nearby red dwarfs.
A next step will be the ability of plotting charts for the epoch of observation, but that will have to wait. At least we now have the information available. We are going in the right direction.

We have added two variability types to VSX recently too: the IMXB-type, Intermediate Mass X-ray Binaries, a scarce class of X-ray binaries, and the Heartbeat stars (HB-type), a group of tidally distorted eccentric ellipsoidal variables that has been a subject of study of our brand new AAVSO Astronomer Bert Pablo :)

There is another major addition that we are working on and has to do with our VSX flags but we are still in the process of implementing it so I will announce it in a future message so you can check some examples and understand what is about.

We have to say thanks as usual to our hard-working volunteer Patrick Wils for making all these changes and improvements possible!

Cheers,
Sebastian

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Sebastian Otero

VSX Team

American Association of Variable Star Observers

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