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SET's picture

Hello Folks,

I am glad to see that Z UMa is the "Variable Star of the Week". I love Z UMa. It was the first variable star I ever observed back in March 1973. So that got me thinking. 

1. What was the first variable star you ever observed and when was that?

2. Do you observe Z UMa and what are your thoughts about the star.

Let me hear from you. Thanks.


Chris Stephan   SET

Robert Clyde Observatory

Sebring, Florida  USA

kqr's picture
Chris (et. al.): Boy, this

Chris (et. al.):

Boy, this is nice!  :-)

Z UMa was my first star as well, back on 23 Feb 2004...not that long ago at all for most of you! Weird how life goes, isn't it?

I'd gone to Swinburne back in 2000 and half met this quiet guy called Aaron Price. Probably no one that anyone has heard of here, of course. I did some research during school about astronomy organizations and, of course, the AAVSO was part of that.

I didn't end up joining until after I'd graduated. I remember after I graduated I was actually looking for other things to do since, as you might expect, working and then getting the MSc. took virtually all of my time while I was doing it. So graduating was sort of like coming up for air and, in part, thinking, "What am I gonna do with all this TIME?"  The AAVSO was part of that answer.

I'd read, or was reading Levy's book, Observing Variable Stars and was looking for one that I could detect with binoculars. I didn't have a scope at that point, I don't think. And Z UMa came up.

I think it took me 45 minutes to find the field - or convince myself that I had found the field - but my estimate was right on the money based on the other visual estimates at the time. And it was beyond wonderful to make that estimate, enter it into the DB, and then call up the light curve generator and SEE it along with everyone else's observations.  I really think that one aspect, our Light Curve Generator, is a big, big retention driver in that regard.

So, now I have to be a bit careful, because if a test needs to be done, or I need a variable star for almost any reason, Z UMa is the one that first comes to mind. Some might say I need to broaden my horizons.

Because of the light pollution around here in Boston, I've not done much visual observing at all in the last five years. But events conspired last month to have me bring out my 150mm reflector, and, of course, the last observation I took was 24 June of this year...of Z UMa!
Doc Kinne, KQR

williampme's picture

I will have to go back to my notes to remember what and when my first variable observation was - 1988 or 1989 I think, but now I am curious.

I started observing Z UMa in the summer of 1990.  My last observation was last night.  This star is one of the more "consistent" semi-regular variables, with a good 3-magnitude range.  Along with T, R, and S UMa, it is on my "most watched" list.

williampme's picture
First observation

R CrB  17 Sept. 1988 - it was during a minima, below 9th magnitude.

TYS's picture

Made my first VSO in Oct 1971, X Cam.  I made my first observation of Z UMa in 1972.

Rich Tyson (TYS)

Aldebaran's picture
Z Uma


I started to observe variable stars quite recently, I did my first observation ever in late July 2011, the star was R Cyg. During this year of observing, I have observed also Z Uma. It is an interesting star, and I think I'm going to observe it also in the future!

-Juha Ojanperä (OJMA)

cpmalo87's picture
My first "official"

My first "official" observation of a variable star was of Beta Lyra last month!  As an amateur astronomer, I've been aware of variables for years but never took up systematic observation until I joined aavso in June.  I've reported 68 visual (binocular) observations so far.  I'm focusing mainly on LPV legacy stars for now.  Most of my program stars are Miras and SRB's, and Z UMa is one of them!

Chris Maloney

pox's picture
first variable

First variable with my current scope was Z Cyg. I still come back to it now and again. Nearby is the faintest variable in my observing record - BU Cyg at 16.5, and there's another nice mira star on the opposite side of Z Cyg from BU - BT Cyg.

BBI's picture
first variable

My very first variable estimate was SS CYG, on August 18, 1997. After 30-40 estimates, I stopped... and restarted in march 2011. I fear this time, it's going to last longer. :-). Z Uma is on my programme and one of my real favorites (almost 50 obs.)

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