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Updates on VSX

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stellakafka
stellakafka's picture
Updates on VSX

Friends,

 

VSX is an essential part of our work, and we are trying to make it the best it can. As we are trying to include information from as many catalogues possible, one of our main challenge is to deal with variables in crowded fields, stars of interest with close companions, objects that are embedded in star clusters and provide accurate coordinates for those stars. As surveys do not always provide accurate positions for stars, the VSX team sometimes struggle with having to identify the right object while cross-correlating our catalogue with the ones provided by survey teams. This can be a manual process, and it requires attention to detail, determination and a fair amount of detective work.

 

Over the last years, the VSX team painstakingly went through all ~400,000 current VSX records, trying to eliminate duplicate and false entries. As part of this procedure, 4,143 records were removed from the active VSX catalogue; we now have 397,597entries. This is always a work in progress and I am sure that we will have to always keep an eye on “problem” star fields with higher density of stars. At the same time, thanks to the team’s hard work, VSX is as “clean” as it can be, and ready to accommodate new discoveries from your telescopes and your student’s work. All credit goes to Sebastian Otero, Patrick Wills and Chris Watson, who have been working hard to come up with new solutions to old problems, and device strategies on how we’ll be dealing with the influx of information from upcoming surveys.

Best wishes - clear skies,

Stella.

pukemaru
pukemaru's picture
Updates on VSX

Thanks, TEAM. A week seldom goes by without me consulting VSX. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

Stephen [HSP]
New Zealand.

pox
pox's picture
amen to that! I can keep the

amen to that! I can keep the YSO list up to date by using VSX.

huziak
huziak's picture
VSX entry publication

Hi Stella,

Thanks for the update and thanks to Seb, Pat, Chris and others involved in the enormous task.  A perpetual question that I've had about VSX is whether or not submitted new discoveries and corrections will ever be officially "published" en masse in the form of something like the IBVS Namelist?  Although those familiar with the ever-improving data in VSX trust it implicitly, doesn't actual publication then legitimize it in the astronomical community?

Rick

Sebastian Otero
Sebastian Otero's picture
VSX and publication

Hi Rick,

I have to say that I don't think that's part of the VSX scope. I could say "yes, eventually" but these years have demonstrated that the task of keeping VSX up to date is not trivial and involves a lot of time and resources.
VSX is not meant to be a publication venue, but it has become a popular way of making discoveries public. The number of users submitting new stars and corrections keeps growing.
We require supporting evidence and make a thorough review of any of the stars submitted but even then, it is easier to submit a star to VSX than publishing it in a journal, keeping in mind that most journals won't accept individual data-mining results without a deeper analysis.
So there are groups and individuals who choose VSX to submit their discoveries.

Since objects submitted to VSX won't receive a GCVS designation just because they are published in a list, I don't see much value in such a publication. The Name Lists you mentioned are published by the GCVS team with the new names they assigned to stars already published in the literature. It is a different thing.
And nowadays all the naming business is becoming obsolete. We have hundreds of different catalogue names in our database. The flood of information is huge and I don't think names are that important anyway. We struggle to update the information and be as complete as possible.
Now, if you want your star to get a GCVS designation, well, you should publish it in a journal and wait.

However, it's been several years since VizieR hosts a VSX catalogue version which is updated every Monday. This means that the stars published through VSX are listed in any VizieR positional search along with the results from other catalogues. So all stars that have only been submitted to VSX are also searchable using VizieR, it is not that they can't be found anywhere else.

As time went by, VSX has become a must-go for anyone looking for variable star information so if you are checking if a star is variable, there is no excuse not to make a VSX search (or a VizieR search) so I don't think that there is a real need of such an additional publication.

Others can disagree, of course!

Cheers,
Sebastian

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