New VS observations and using the database

Forums Variable Stars New VS observations and using the database

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    Alex Thomson

    Hi all

    I rejoined that BAA a couple of years back after 30ish years and got back in to VS work which I had always enjoyed as a young man

    Thankfully Gary Poyner briefly helped me in getting the confidence I needed that my estimates were in the right ballpark – however I must aplogise Gary that I didn’t stay in touch given your obvious skills as a mentor

    Despite this I’ve done a few observations, increased my scope size  and also reactivated my VS’account’ which I was overjoyed to find still had some of my younger self’s estimates

    At the moment I’ve got quite a few observations all recorded reasonably well but in UT and as a result I’ve got a couple of queries…excuse the naivety 

    1. Do we have a simple conversion tool / app for deriving the JD?

    2. How long does take to put each estimate on (ballpark)

    3. Are 2 yr old obs still useful 

    Hopefully I can get on top of the backlog and make it a bit easier to keep them up to date from now on!

    thanks all for any help and pointers

    Alex Thomson

    Mersea Island


    Gary Poyner

    Hi Alex,

    The VSS spreadsheet (downloadable from VSS web page) will convert UT to UT decimal and calendar date to JD.

    You can batch upload observations to the database using the aforementioned spreadsheet, which takes a few seconds from beginning to end.  Entering the data individually takes longer of course, but a single observation only takes about 30 seconds or less to enter.

    It doesn’t matter how old your data is – we would very much like to have it.

    Good to see you back!


    Alex Thomson

    That’s great thanks Gary – was remembering the old days of converting dates and filling in sheets by hand – sounds much smoother now!

    Jeremy Shears

    Hello Alex,

    Good to hear about your VS observations.

    The VSS spreadshseet automatically converts UT to JD, as Gary says, which is absolutely painless.

    If you need to convert UT to JD (or vice versa) at any other time, there is a great Applet on the BAA Computing Section web site:

    This is also linked from the front page of the VSS web site.


    Alex Thomson

    Thanks Jeremy really useful thanks – I’m still a bit of a luddite when it comes to new technology!

    Roger Pickard

    Hi Alex,

    Just to add a comment about older observations.  We are still finding and entering observations from the 1970,s etc!



    Alex Thomson

    Thanks Roger shouldn’t take me 45 yrs to get mine on!

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