How to Submit Data
How to Submit Data
Ready to submit data now? Go ahead and Submit Your Observation!
A graduate school advisor of the page's author drilled into him that data does not become real until it is shared and published. The goal of a scientist is to general knowledge, which only happens with publication to the wider community. The AAVSO International Database has over 15 million observations dating back over 100 years. It is a respected and stable database and the first stop for professional astronomers wanting to do research on variable stars. It gets thousands of requests for data from professional astronomers every year.
This tutorial will walk you through submitting a visual observation of a variable star to the database using the Citizen Sky online data submission tool.
Getting an Observer Code
The first thing you need is an Observer Code. This is an identifier that will stay with you forever. (Yes, even after you pass on this observer code will remain assigned to your observations in the database. How's that for posterity?!) The data submission tool will ask you if you already have an AAVSO observer code. If you do not, it will ask you for some identification information (name, country, etc.) and then will assign you an observer code immediately.
After you have an observer code, it will be automatically linked to your Citizen Sky user login. So all your future data submissions will be assigned that observer code.
Submitting the Observation
First, you have to decide whether you are going to submit a visual or a non-visual observation. After you have made that selection, you will get a form like this (It has been reduced in size to fit this page, it looks larger and is easier to read when loaded in your web browser.):
This is a screen shot of the visual form. The non-visual form is almost identical, but has a few more fields to fill out. Many of the fields are self explanatory. Others have pop-up help balloons that will appear when you click on "More Help" or hover your mouse over orange links.
After you have entered your observational data, slick Submit Observations. That will put the observation in the AAVSO International Database for the entire world to access. You will be shown a light curve of the last 10 days observations we have received on the star. Observations by you will be highlighted by a blue cross. Below is an example:
If you place your mouse over the image then it will show you a 300 day light curve of the star, again with your observations highlighted. (Note it doesn't work on this sample image.)
To submit a visual observation now, visit our Submit Your Observation page.
If you need to change an observation, use the Contact Us form. But do not change your observation just because your data is different from the others. It is very important that your observations are not biased by looking at other data first! Only change an observation if you have a technical reason to do so (ex: you misread your observer log or there was a typo in your submission).
You are now a variable star observer and a vital element in the scientific process!