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first data submission - confused

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jfmb's picture
first data submission - confused

Hi everyone

I'm about to submit my first monthly data report of visual observations and want to make sure I do so correctly.

I've downloaded the 'data entry' excel template here at the site made to fit the format of visual observations, filled in the fields, and thought that it would be as simple as uploading the completed file back to WebObs when the time comes to submit. Is it that simple? I notice that some fields such as star identifier and chart number aren't included on the excel sheet, and that some of the comment codes are different as they appear on the (old) paper sheets.

A read of the site describes the format in detail, but it seems somewhat different from what is included on the excel sheet.

What is the correct way to submit my data?

Aaron Price
Aaron Price's picture

Hi, and welcome to observing!

I assume you are using one of the two Excel spreadsheets listed on our Software Directory page. I would not recommend using them for your first variable star observations. They were designed for observers who are also members of other variable star organizations (specifically, the British and Japanese groups) and would like a form they can use to enter data in once and have it exported in both the AAVSO format and the format of their other group. The instructions to use it are under the "Readme" sheet (look at the tabs at the bottom of the Excel window). They are relatively complicated, so again I wouldn't recommend using them for the new observer.

The simplest way to submit your data is to use WebObs.  WebObs is our online tool that works via this web site. It is much simpler to use and understand. You do need an observer code to use WebObs. If you don't have one, click here to get one.

Feel free to post any follow up questions here or to e-mail us at

jfmb's picture
Thank you for your response

Thank you for your response and your welcome, Aaron.

I neglected to tell you that I'm not a complete neophyte to variable star observing, having been a regular contributor to the RASNZ, VSS a few years back. A single monthly report was the norm back then so I was just curious as to how to forward data to the AAVSO and the preferred method here. 

Agreed that it's probably simpler to submit observations individually under WebObs, so this is what I'll keep doing.

Thanks for pointing out the tabs to me, that's answered most of my questions.

First observation: Rejected


I've just submitted my first observation of a variable star, actually a candidate of variable star according to our data. Unfortunately, the report was rejected and there was no explanation or comments so far.

We submitted the data in a .dat file with time (JD) in the first column, the reference star in the 2nd column, the star of suspected variability in the 3rd column plus two columns for other stars as 'control'.
 We also submitted information about observation, reduction and analysis procedures. Data was plotted in matlab, and analyzed with an spectral analysis tool to infer the period of the light curve.

It is mandatory to use an excel spreadsheet to submit the data? How can we know more about this rejected submission?

Thank you in advance

best regards


SXN's picture
Data rejection

There are a couple reasons why your data may have been rejected. If the star is not listed in VSX and doesn't have an AUID, then our software will not recognize it as variable and won't accept the observation. In that case you need to submit the star as a variable to VSX.

Files of observations uploaded to the AAVSO via the WebObs File Upload tool must be formatted in the Official AAVSO Format:

In either case, an error message should have been displayed when you made your submission. 

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