Teams / The Mark I Eyeball Team

The Mark I Eyeball Team

Citizen Sky is now officially permanent part of the AAVSO. In the coming weeks we will be moving additional content to the AAVSO site and freezing this site as an archive of the 1st three years of the project. Please visit the new landing page for future updates.

Citizen Sky

Note: This team is now closed to new members. However, we'll still accept members if you can show that you are very enthusiastic about the project and have a specific skill/idea to contribute.

Lots of factors affect the precision and accuracy of visual variable star estimates. We will examine all visual data in the AAVSO International Database, including Citizen Sky data, to determine how various factors affect the precision and accuracy of visual variable star observations. Example factors are observer experience, age, lunar phase, altitude in the sky, properties of the variable star and its comparison stars, etc. This is essentially a follow up to this poster (4MB PDF) paper presented at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society and this post in our forums.We anticipate the result being a paper submitted to a major astronomy journal with all contributing team members as coauthors. This will be an important project as visual data is the backbone of variable star research, yet it has never been systematically researched. We also anticipate this project taking 1-2 years. We need team members with one or more of the following skill sets:
  • Ability to do all-sky CCD photometry to 1% accuracy
  • Advanced skill and experience (decades) with visual observing
  • SQL database skills
  • Perl/Python or other scripting skills
  • Understanding of statistics

We're open to team members with other applicable skill sets. If you have an idea for a contribution please feel free to apply. Just be warned this is a fairly advanced project. We will likely limit team size to something around ten members. So include in your application the specific item you think you can contribute to the project.

Wanted: well-observed southern Miras or other variables


I'd like to query the observers among us to see if anyone can quickly
recommend one or more Mira or other variable stars that match the
following criteria:

- southern, so it has good ASAS coverage

- fits well within the good quality ASAS range (perhaps V=8.5 to 13)

- has an excellent visual sequence, and has had for a long time

- is very well observed visually, and

- isn't too red (i.e. not a carbon star).

What I'm looking for are stars with lots of visual data that can be
compared with ASAS (or another photometric data set with reasonably
well-defined bandpass). It will be a bit tedious to go through all of
the AAVSO/RASNZ lightcurves and compare them to ASAS, so if anyone
knows any good ones off the top of their heads, please post a reply.

The reason I'm asking is the following: the brute-force (and naive) way of
making presentable visual light curves is to do a straight averaging of Read more

A couple of questions to start things rolling.


I have just posted a response to a question on the Visual Observing Forum, 'Avoiding Bias: a Few More Rules for Variable Star Observers'.

Alex Burda suggests that the use of comparison star magnitudes as labels, as on AAVSO charts, might bias results in some way. British Astronomical Association Variable Star Section charts which I use label stars with letters, and only list their apparent magnitudes at the bottom of the chart.

This isn't something I have thought about before, but lacking any evidence either way I'm inclined to agree with Alex. What do others think?Read more

The Mark I Eyeball Team

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