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Variable Abbreviations and General Characteristics - an addition to the AAVSO Web Site?

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Ed Wiley_WEY
Ed Wiley_WEY's picture
Variable Abbreviations and General Characteristics - an addition to the AAVSO Web Site?

There is an excellent summary of abbreviations and general characteristics of variables provided by our good friends from Astronomical Society of South Australia.


UGSS = SS Cyg. A UG subspecies with outbursts lasting for several days.

I wonder if AAVSO might contact ASSA and see if they would mind either linking to their site or porting the content (with proper credit) to the AAVSO site. I have found this a great help when I look up other variables in the field of my intended target as the VSX uses these abbreviations rather than the formal names. I don't think such a summary is available on the AAVSO site and it tends to be scattered in reference books.

An alternative is to place the abbreviations and general characteristics in both of the new manuals.

SXN's picture
Variable Star Types

The ASSA page is a very handy and concise guide to variable types and nomenclature.

The AAVSO does have a complete resource describing all the variable star types listed in VSX. It also includes the definitions and descriptions of the systems behavior and characteristics. It is available as a pdf here-

I think it would be a great idea to make this easier to find and reference, but I don't have a brilliant suggestion as to where it could/should be linked to from our web pages. I'm open to suggestions.

It is currently is linked from the footer of the VSX pages, such as VSX Search.

Ed Wiley_WEY
Ed Wiley_WEY's picture
Variable Star Types

Thanks! I figured it had to be around somewhere. This is a much more detailed description and valuable to have on hand. I agree it should be more accessible, but like you, I have no brilliant suggestion. It might be worth placing in each of the manuals.

FWJA's picture
VS Type Designations: Where to Look

Hello Mike and Ed:

As we discussed in our last CHOICE Course ( The 57 page document) -- -- - and as Mike is well aware the "alphabet soup"- as I like to call it, drives me crazy ...


Posting a link conveniently on the HOME Page would be a great idea:


1. The Main Menu tabs across the top of Home Page: List under "Variable Star" Tab..... an additional line - above or below the VSX link, - that would take you directly to the Star Type Designation document.




2. In the "Star Finder Box" -- A second link ( Similar to the current "Learn More" Link) ... "VS Type Designations" .. click on that and it would take you to the 57 page document.


I too, have a couple of hard printed copies floating around here - but never where or available when I want them ..

I know: -- the solution is for me to get more organized :) :)

Good Night All,

Walt "Doc" Fahey FWJA


Ed, I agree the ASSA is more concise. - and Mike - Yes, the AAVSO work is definitely more detailed and complete.

RebeccaTurner's picture
Great suggestion!

I am always for making things easier to find on the website!  I will post the document later today.

Ed Wiley_WEY
Ed Wiley_WEY's picture
Variable Classification redux

So...I made an excel spread sheet of the ASSA classification. Not as extensive as the AASVO/VSX one, but you can sort on abbreviations or on type which save a bit of page turning. Might come in handy. I am not sure if the eclipsing binary suffixes are correctly displayed. The file is txt, tab delimited.


Variable Classification redux


Great stuff, I was thinking I needed something like this and down loaded the Variable Star Type Designations in VSX (57 pages), you have just saved me, and I would presume a lot of other people,  a lot of typing.

Thanks for all your hard work



HBB's picture
Variable Classification redux


Thanks.  I like your file.



Ed Wiley_WEY
Ed Wiley_WEY's picture
Variable Classification redux

To all:

I checked with the our colleagues at ASSA about using the spreadsheet I posted and send them a copy. They approve of the posting. All this seems innocent enough, but I should have checked with them BEFORE posting the txt file. Given that I have published a couple of books and a lot of biology papers, you would think I know better. A mistake on my part that will not be repeated.


FRF's picture
VS type designations in VSX

Thanx Mike, this is really useful!

On the main AAVSO page there is a submenu: Variable Stars/Types of variables

I think this file needs to be linke somewhere in that page.

On the other hand a short article in the AAVSO Newsletter would also be useful to promote this stuff.

Clear skies,

Róbert Fidrich (FRF)

RebeccaTurner's picture
good suggestion

A link to the pdf file of VSX types has been added to


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