Skip to main content

Understudied/Under observed Targets

CTX's picture
Joined: 2010-07-08

Understudied/Under observed Targets:

From my position on the Sequence Team and judging by some of the requests that I receive for a sequence I suspect that some observers maybe presuming that because a target is in the VSX and because it might show only a few or no observations that it is automatically a worthy target.

Sometimes this may be truth and other times there is a good reason that a specific target is understudied.  I do not want to embarrass any observer so will avoid mentioning any specific requests or targets, however, I would like to encourage those who data mine for understudied/under observed targets to check the variable type and then to do some research regarding  that type of target before concluding that it is a worthwhile target for them to observe.

The above link will take you to a pdf of descriptions of the various types of targets listed in the VSX.

Also, a great resource, in addition to a serach of the AAVSO site is the SAO/NASA document inquiry RE specfic targets or types.  You can seach by specific target names and or types and see what might be available.

Having said this, it is not my intent to suggest which targets or worthy of observing and which are not, as I am not really qualified to make any such judgments.  It has been the history of our fine organization to not interfere with the target choices of observers.  Such choices should be left to the observer and I fully support this practice.  All I am suggesting is that with the understudied/under observed targets that the observer make an informed choice, whatever it might be.

I do sympathize with all observers as sometimes it is difficult to know what should be observed and we all want to feel like we are making important contributions (we are) and/or even maybe making a significant discovery along the way.

Ad Astra

Tim Crawford, CTX

Finding the interesting objects
lmk's picture
Joined: 2010-07-23

Tim, This is a topic which I had mentioned several times before on our old discussion group. There are such a huge number of cataloged variables of unknown/unusual behavior, but how to find them?

Even though we have a search feature in VSX, its not really geared towards identifying characteristics of objects which make them unusual, important, worthy, etc.

Maybe we need to think about developing an intelligent query system (like Google's) to conveniently find objects with sets of characteristics that may be enlightening. One idea would be to create special tables/joins/key fields from the AID which would enable such queries. Then, allow users to write their own SQL to search them. For example, create a new table that lists all the outbursts ever detected for all objects in the AID. This would allow queries like "SELECT ALL FROM (new TABLE oubursts) WHERE nOutburst<=2 AND TYPE NOT LIKE 'M' OR TYPE = 'unknown' to find all non-mira or unknown type objects with just 1 or 2 recorded outbursts. There's really no way to do anything like this at the present time?

Thanks for considering, Mike LMK.

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