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AC And, AAVSO, and stuff. Not in that order.

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#1 MtnGoat

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 11:34 AM

Hi folks,
well I find myself peeking at more and more variables lately just for the heck of it. The AAVSO website is quite good, they've done a bang up job. Easy to navigate, love the curve and finder generator functions, wonderful!

I thought heck, maybe I'll join up and toss some estimates of the ones I'm seeing any given night into the mix.

I did some reading on the 'how to' pages, and I'm pretty sure that even though I've never officially contributed, I'm beyond the beginner stage by a ways. I've imaged two supernovas nightly while visible (M51 and M101 a couple years ago), did a summers worth of runs on SS Cyg around the same time, and generally grasp what's going on and how comparisons work. I used the meade astrometry tools to plot myself a light curve for the M51 'nova from my data, etc.

Any comments on joining up from members, do I *need* a mentor ...or is it just handy?

AC And.....they feature it as light curve of the week and it looks like an interesting one, wobblin' all over pretty rapidly. So I lined 'er up last night, had a peek. Then I go to generate a light curve and see how my guess racks up, but the generator shows nothing. I've done more than a couple curve generations so I know I did it right, i'm kinda flustrated that it shows up as 'light curve of the week'...and I can't actually generate one to have a look at!

That said, I think it will stay in my nightly bin for a while, it's position is ideal for many nights to come this season.

As a side note, in July I decided to see if the girlfriend would like variables. I'm very lucky in that she's out there every night she's around and it's clear, wanting to see stuff. It's dark, show me some stars says she! So we power up the LXD75/10" LX200, and go to town. (the number of counterweights on that poor mount is a riot)

So we began watching good old SS Cyg, and of course after a couple weeks, it flares up on the very night she won't be able to come over for a few days! So she missed that one. Then a couple weeks ago we did get to catch a burp which does show up on the latest curve, as a bump which we both think is lower than what we saw. Maybe there can be very transient flare ups that only a lucky observer will catch? Anyhow it was at least as bright as the second of the arc of pointer stars near it. The next night it was back to quiescent. She did like that, at least she'd seen it change.

#2 Michael Rapp

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 09:12 PM

I'm not an AAVSO member (yet), but I tried generating a light curve for AC And as well. And I got nothing. For fun I entered 800 days for the curve and it put up a graph. Doesn't appear to be a heavily observed star...but wow does it drop in brightness quickly!

I can only imagine the counterweights on your LXD-75. That mount can barely handle my C9.25! (Although, it does track really well with it, it just seems to be a the struggling point with a slew.)

#3 jgraham

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:05 PM

I joined the AAVSO a couple of years ago. I read through all of their online documentation and other sources and figured out CCD and DSLR photometry on my own using the photometry tools in Meade's Autostar Suite Imaging Processing. It has been a great addition to my hobby. The AAVSO is a wonderful resource.

#4 MtnGoat

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:41 PM

I had another look at AC And last night, it seemed a tick brighter. I also went and did the 800 day light curve plot, my gosh very few observations. Perhaps I'll join up and adopt this orphan, lol.

Yup Michael there are three full sized Meade std counterweight on the bar, plus a thin one from I don't know where. Three wasn't enough and with the thin one was too much, but not by much, so the stack is scooted in from the end less than an inch. The mount complains a little in slew, but tracking is smooth as you noted so it will get by. The amazing thing really is that this mount has withstood a 24/7/365 environmental test for nearly 6 years now with no problems. We go from about 10 in the winter to a few weeks from 90-100 every summer, so it's not an easy one. It's permanently mounted on a pier and wrapped in several layers of plastic when not in use, and that's it. I really should get one of those covers. There are a lot of pluses and minuses to an LXD75, but when you get it dialed in it can work pretty well for what it is.

#5 RAKing

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:56 PM

As a Sustaining Member of AAVSO, I happily invite you to join the fun! :)

Like many, I studied the web site, read a bunch of books, and dove right in. Estimating variables can quickly become an addiction and you might soon find yourself blowing off everything else just so you can do your nightly "SS Cyg watch". (Is there anyone out there who hasn't done this one yet? :lol: )

Please keep in mind that estimating variables and contributing to the AAVSO database is one way that we "rank amateurs" can contribute to science without holding a PhD. I'll have to go back through my notes, but there are a couple of variables that I am the only contributor. It's a heavy responsibility, but someone has to do it!


Cheers,

Ron

#6 NJScope

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 07:23 AM

It's possible you didn't go back far enough. I used 2000 days and produced the following plot. These appear to be V-band data and go back even further. I'm an AAVSO member so if you need any help I'll try to assist you.

#7 MtnGoat

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 12:24 PM

thanks guys. I probably will join up, two nights ago I did my nightly progress shots of Nova Del and when I swung over to SS Cyg for my nightly peek, it was going off again, so that was pretty cool. When I checked the curve plotted no one had reported it yet, would be fun to see my name in there.

#8 MtnGoat

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 04:00 PM

Here's a comparison I shot a bit ago with my Canon T3

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#9 MtnGoat

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 10:37 PM

Finally cleared out after a week of crud. Got another look at good old SS, it's still pretty high on the falling side of one of those broad outbursts. I expected it to be gone again

#10 RGM

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 05:49 AM

I have been a member for less than 2 years. I joined under similar circumstances regarding experience. I did not ask for a Mentor.

I love the "hunt" for variable stars, and then the further "hunt" for the comparison stars. It is much more enjoyable than hunting down faint and fuzzies.

I observe from central Ontario, and the weather has been quite poor the past year. It seems that the best nights are always around a full moon. But, despite this, I have now made over 200 contributions. I am hooked. It has put a purpose back into my observing.

#11 MtnGoat

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the comments, RGM. Last night I continued my set of survey shots of Nova Del, but gave up trying out V411 Tau I noted in another thread. The moon was right on top of it...a drawback common to ecliptic plane variables, I guess!

I also had a peek at SS Cyg, it seems to have been having a bit of a burp, seemed a bit brighter than normal minimum. The girlfriend and I caught an inter-outburst burp last cycle as well, and were gratified to have seen a single report on the slight rise show up in the light curve for the same night.

So I suppose I should just dang well sign up.






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