Why is no one talking about this?

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Tue, 05/31/2016 - 14:00

This weekend I had some time and watched a good portion of the video of Stella's Director's Report (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08qe1zRxUiM) that she gave a few weeks ago.  (As a quick aside, this is the first time I've heard Stella speak and she got me excited about the AAVSO!)

One slide in her presentation -- at 8:40 -- knocked me off my chair.  It is a graph for the first quarter of 2016 showing the methods observers are using for the data they are gathering.  66% of all observations in the first quarter of 2016 are visual!  Wait, what?   Let me say that again... sixty-six percent of the observations performed in January, February, March of 2016 are visual.  

To me this is huge!  I know myself I've had times in which I've gone outside and had those nagging thoughts wondering if my visual work is outmoded.  To further excite me, in her presentation Stella actually calls out visual observations as something valuable to be encouraged and cherished.  That is so awesome!

 In a nutshell...I'm just excited. :)

--Michael (RMW) in Houston

Vereniging Voor Sterrenkunde, Werkgroep Veranderlijke Sterren (Belgium) (VVS)

Hi Michael, I think that this a misapprehension. The graph says that 66% are visaul observers, not 66% visual observations. 


visual observers are a quiet group

For example, the solar section is very low key, yet 98% of the observers (on average 60 to 70 submit data each month) are visual observers.  We have one observer, Jan Alvestad, who computes sunspot counts from the SDO satellite images.  Take a look at the April Solar Bulletin:  https://www.aavso.org/solar-bulletin