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VSX Data Mining

Social Distancing, Light pollution, bad weather... You can still work on meaningful projects from the comfort of your home. All you need is your computer, an internet connection, and patience. This is the first series of AAVSO data mining projects, focusing on unveiling unknown properties of suspected variable stars. Enjoy!

Questions or need help? Email us!
 

Data Mining Projects
 

1. Find periods for stars without known values in VSX.

It is common for stars to be labeled as a specific type of variable, but without any  further information. You can help the community by improving this information where possible especially period. The basic steps for designing your project are laid about below:

 - Pick a variability type. VSX has lots of variables, some of which are irregular and won't have periods. Instead, choose something strictly periodic, such as eclipsing binaries.

- Search VSX for all stars of that type. For instance If you wanted to search for all algol type eclipsing binaries you would use EA%.

- Order the results by period and those without known values will be at the top. 

- Check GCVS for existing information. Click on the link to a particular star in your list and then check on the GCVS link available through the VSX external links dropdown menu.

-  Find existing data on surveys such as ASAS-SN, ASAS-3, and KWS all available in the VSX external links. 

- Analyze this data for periodicity. This part will require some knowledge of data analysis which you can do using VStar.  For more infomation please go here.

2) Properly classifying stars with Irregular Variability Types

There are many stars with the irregular classification: L, LB or LC (or L:, LB:, LC:)  Most of these turn out not to be semi-regular once a proper analysis has been done.

- Search VSX for irregular variables (e.g. L%)

- Use VSX external links to download survey data on them.

- Data analysis can be done using VStar to determine proper classification. 

3) Reclassifying stars with 'catch-all' variability types.  

Often surveys have classifications for stars that are found to have a specific type of variability, but no further typing could be attributed. Examples of such classes are MISC, PULS, APER, PER, NSIN or SIN.  

- Search VSX for one of these classes (e.g. SIN%)

- Use VSX external links to download survey data on them.

- Data analysis can be done using VStar to help find classifcation. 

4) Reclassifying stars with VAR variability type. 

VAR stars have even less known about them than the examples listed in the previous type. These stars are known to be variable, but that's it. These will likely be tougher to reclassify as they could fall into just about any variability type. 

- Search VSX using variabilty type VAR 

- Click on the link to a particular star in your list and then check on available data through the VSX external links dropdown menu.

- Data analysis can be done using VStar to help find classifcation. 

5) Improving new VSX variables.

VSX has a classification of discoveries called novice discoveries. This is when someone has found a star they believe to be variable, but has only used data they collected. Elements such as period can be greatly improved when this is combined with survey data.

-  Go to the VSX search page and select "Novice discoveries..." from the special searches dropdown menu.

- Click on the link to a particular star in your list and then check on available data through the VSX external links dropdown menu.

- Data analysis can be done using VStar to  improve elements.

6) Checking "Not checked" stars.

 Some stars had no good quality data when the survey was entered into VSX. These stars have been labeled as "Not checked". This means that the star identification might be wrong due to blending or the object might be a spurious variable. These stars should be checked to confirm their variable nature.

- Search VSX only checking the "Not checked" box in the search form. There are currently 3657 such records in our database (April 23, 2020).

- Click on the link to a particular star in your list and then check on available data through the VSX external links dropdown menu.

- Confirm that the object is variable (or not)

- Data analysis can be done using VStar to help find classifcation and potentially other star elements.

These projects are merely a few possibilities of data mining projects you can do using VSX. Feel free to come up with your own or expand on those listed here. If you have questions or need assistance you can ask them on the VSX Forum or on the new Data Mining Forum

AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 aavso@aavso.org 617-354-0484