AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

How-to Hour—Planning an Observing Program (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 2 (2019)

Kenneth J. Menzies
318A Potter Road, Framingham, MA 01701; kenmenstar@gmail.com
Michael J. Cook
Newcastle Observatory, 9 Laking Drive, Newcastle, ON L1B 1M5, Canada; michael.cook@newcastleobservatory.ca
Franz-Josef (Josch) Hambsch
Oude Bleken 12, Mol 2400, Belgium; hambsch@telenet.be


(Abstract only) This “How-to Hour” presentation is designed to provide a discussion of principles, procedures, and skills that can be understood and utilized by amateurs to advance their practice of variable star photometry. It is presented by experienced observers who will describe the techniques needed to answer questions that all of us may ask and struggle with when advancing through our avocation. The first presentation, “Planning a Visual Observing Program” by Michael Cook, identifies/explains the fundamental principles of visual observing including: 1. How to select targets, 2. How to find them, 3. How to pick comps, 4. How to compare targets and comps, 5. How to measure with the eye, binoculars, scope, 6. How to report, and 7. How to deal with issues with color detection. The second presentation, “Planning a CCD Observing Program” by Josch Hambsch, identifies: 1. Types of variables of interest, 2. Different observing techniques needed to measure them, 3. How to identify organizations that request support, 4. How to identify professionals who need collaboration, 5. How to set up an observing plan, and 6. What software tools are available to observe efficiently.