Plan for variable star observing for season 2016-2017

In my previous post, I made a personal, semi-scientific, qualitative mini-review on my variable star observations during season 2015-2016. In this post, I’m going to present my variable star observing plan for season 2016-2017.

During observing season 2016-2017, Im going to continue observing variable stars visually with 10×50 binoculars. Based on my conclusions I presented in my previous post, I’m going to make some adjustments to my observing program. During season 2016-2017, my observing program is going to be as follows:

  • EU Del
  • U Del
  • W Cyg
  • X Her
  • ST Uma
  • UU Aur
  • W Ori
  • Y Tau
  • X Cnc
  • RS Cnc

When I was choosing the stars to my observing program, I was considering following criterions:

  1. The star has already long history of observations, and that’s why it is worthwhile to try to extend the already long history of visual observations of the star. Such stars are included in LPV program of AAVSO, and especially in LPV Legacy program. I was selecting my stars from these programs, having emphasis on LPV Legacy stars.
  2. The star is included also in the Binocular -program of AAVSO, meaning that according to AAVSO, it makes sense to observe the star with binoculars
  3. The star is ranking high in the Binocular program of BAA.VSS, meaning that according to BAA.VSS, it is a reasonably good idea to carry on observing the star
  4. The star has suitable brightness range for 10×50 binoculars, and that the star can be observed with these binos throughout the entire cycle of the star
  5. The comp stars are reasonably close to the variable itself, so that it can be easily observed with 10×50 binos
  6. I decided to limit my program to only 10 stars, which I fully commit to observe through to whole season

All the stars happen to be semiregulars of type SRB. Some of the stars are known to be intensively red stars, which can be a challenge for observing. But based of my experience of observing a red star (for example UU Aur) during season 2015-2016, I have a reason to believe, that I can perform observing these red stars well enough.

So, after having a small hiatus from vsriable star observing from early February 2016 to June 2016, variable stars are back in my observing program! The hiatus happened because of my life situation was intensively busy, and in the spring of 2016  I was emphasizing visual deep sky observing. But from now on, I’ll be committing to observing these 10 stars and I’m going to have this small variable star observing program as my top priority! I’m going to also observe deep sky objects visually whenever I have time and energy, but these variable stars are going to be my priority number one!




4 thoughts on “Plan for variable star observing for season 2016-2017

  1. Hernán June 21, 2016 / 16:44

    Thanks for posting the rationale behind your decision, very interesting thoughts! I am also using this time of the year with almost no darkness to plan for the coming season, one in which variable stars are priority. I also see the need for limiting the program to just a few, in order for it to be both realistic and enjoyable. I have not yet come down to a definite list though, but that will happen soon. Good luck and clear skies in your variable star adventures!

  2. Juha Ojanperä June 21, 2016 / 19:21

    Thank you for commenting, Hernan! It will be interesting to see your list too, when you are ready with planning. I wish you too clear skies and good observing sessions under the stars!

  3. Gustav August 2, 2016 / 16:33

    I agree with Hernán, interesting to read about your programme. It is, I think, a good strategy to limit one’s targets. In my experience, I have a core set of stars that I come back to more or less every season, while some others are dropped for whatever reason.

    Also, in addition to these type of SRs suitable for binocular observation, I sometimes also follow the brighter miras through maximum with binoculars. khi Cyg, for example, is on the rise to a summer/autumn max and is about to enter binocular territory at the moment.

    • Juha Ojanperä August 11, 2016 / 19:37

      Hello Gustav, thank you for commenting! I have also occasionally observed brighter miras in their maximum, for example during season 15-16 I was observing R Aql during it’s maximum. One of the key aspects for my selection of stars is that I can follow them during their entire cycle with one instrument, although it is fun to watch miras in their maximum too!

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