BAA VSS visual observation database



 BAA VSS database

 data input


 data access

    The British Astronomical Association Variable Star Section maintains a database of visual observations of variable stars, containing well over one million observations and dating back over a century.

    The process of converting the database to machine readable form was started by Dave McAdam in the late 1980's. Not only did he collate new observations as they were sent to him, but he took it upon himself to organise entering into machine readable form, those observations which were still in paper form. Most of the archive observations were indeed entered during the time that he was VSS Secretary.  For these achievements, Dave was awarded the BAA's Merlin medal and gift in 2001.

    Dave relinquished his post as Section Secretary in 2001, and I now oversee the entry of new, electronically submitted, observations into the database.  I also receive data from individuals who are continuing the task of typing in the paper records.

    Over the last few years I have completely re-written the database software and am trying to standardise the format in which observations are submitted.

    Although not the largest visual observation database in the world, we are particulary proud that our database permits storage of the observer's estimate - instead of just the magnitude - together with the comparison sequence used.  This allows the magnitude to be recomputed, should the sequence be revised.

    A recent exciting development is Project Quixote, which has been setup by Roger Dymock, and allows on-line access to the VSS data.