AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

The Challenges of Updating VSX in the Survey Era (Abstract)

Volume 48 number 1 (2020)

Sebastián Otero
AAVSO, 49 Bay State Road, Cambridge, MA 02138; sebastian@aavso.org


(Abstract only) Keeping the world’s largest variable star database up to date is not a trivial task. Even when one may think that in the internet era information is readily available everywhere to everyone, although that might sound true, reality is very far from that ideal. The VSX Team struggles with different problems every day in order to improve the quality and completeness of our metacatalogue. In this talk we highlight examples of the problems we find every day when dealing with large (or not so large) datasets—lack of information, formatting issues, evidently wrong information as a result of automated analysis (wrong periods, wrong types), blending due to a large pixel size resulting in incorrect identifications or spurious variability due to light contamination, and more. We also discuss the increasing number of sources that should be checked and the time and resources involved in such enormous task. We finally showcase the good things that may happen when dealing with these datasets, like correcting wrong identifications that were adopted for decades, or receiving new discoveries of interesting variable stars that are submitted to VSX by people like you.