31 July 2020 at 5:13 pm #57468831 July 2020 at 7:07 pm #582955Jeremy ShearsParticipant
This is excellent work, Alex. Thank you to you and the team, including Roger Pickard, Tracie Heywood, Terry Miles, John Fairweather and Bob Dryden, for working hard to get Melvyn’s and other observers’ obs into the VSS database. Brilliant news about King’s observations!
Only this week we were contacted by Prof Edward Guinan and his student for BAA VSS data on Betelgeuse from the 1890’s. Edward is at Villanova University and has published on the recent fade of Betelgeuse and these data will help his research.
As you say, there is likely other data out there, in observing books and elsewhere that could be very valuable. One potential source I have thought about is the English Mechanic. In the 19th century it was quite common for people to write letters to the newspaper with their VS observations. However, in many cases some details are missing. It would be quite an arduous task to go through all the editions, even though the scanned EM is available on disc. Another project for the future….31 July 2020 at 8:37 pm #582956
It wouldn’t be possible to process such a large volume of unrecorded VS observations without the tenacious commitment of these Section members. I’m aware of cases where valuable observations have been lost after members passed away, e.g. by a house clearance or by wiping their computer drives. Thankfully, Melvyn’s family gave us full access to his extensive hoard.
As I mentioned in VSS Circular 180, the BAA Memoirs contain some useful VS data, but perhaps like in the English Mechanic not all salient information is to hand. Yes, they are certainly worthwhile and rewarding projects to search for old observations and add them to the Association’s archives and databases.
I’ve promised Roger I’ll write an update for the December VSS Circular.
Alex.31 July 2020 at 9:04 pm #582957Jeremy ShearsParticipant
Thanks Alex. I look forward to your forthcoming VSS Circular article
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