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Rush to publish



Hello all,

There isn't any... rush to publish, I mean.  Unmitigated opinion follows:

The important thing to remember is that there just aren't that many people out
there looking for variable stars.  I'll guarantee you that no one will beat
you to *your* star.  We amateurs get caught up in the rush of the moment, and
want to be the first to stake our claim - a holdover from the days when all we
could really discover were comets, and an occasional bright nova.  Got to get
your name on that comet!  Things take place at a more leisurely pace when
we're doing 12th magnitude variables, though.

Consider the "name" projects that are (or were) out there detecting variables.
Most of them (ROTSE, MACHO, OGLE, Hipparcos) detect(ed) variables only as a
by-product of a primary mission.  Then, they are either not an all-sky survey,
or the magnitude limits are quite bright.  There are projects designed to
detect variables.  TASS of course, ASAS, HAT, MISAO.  There are some that
don't fit either category, Stardial for example, that make available raw data
suitable for use in detecting variables.

Remember, though, that none of these projects is anywhere near all-sky
coverage (yet), and/or penetration even to relatively bright magnitudes (11 or
12) is absent, and/or temporal duration is brief.  Most of the projects
mentioned above include a coverage chart on their web sites - and coverage is
pretty skimpy so far.  There are 4 pi steradians in the celestial sphere, and
the chances that anyone is looking where YOU are is pretty slim.

Take Stardial as an example.  I found a previously uncatalogued variable by
blinking Stardial frames.  I was in a near panic, until I figured out that no
one else was looking!  Stardial has been putting data on the 'net since 1996.
To date, I'm aware of only myself and K. Bernhard that have done anything
serious involving new variables in Stardial data.  I gave a local high school
student some information on Stardial this spring, and he found an uncatalogued
LPV for his science fair project - earned him a trip to the national science
fair in Louisville last month.  And this data has been freely available on the
'net since 1996, but *no one is looking*.

I could rattle on at length (and in fact I'm putting together a talk for the
AAVSO meeting next month on this very subject, the opportunity for discovery
and publication) but won't - just remember that the sky is a big place, and
there's plenty of time to get it right before publication.  Regarding Delta
Scutis, I read in one paper last night as I was browsing ADS a recommendation
that DSCTs be observed for at least 30 nights to insure detection of all the
multi-mode pulsations (Breger, "Delta Scuti and related stars - Review",
1983).  I should think eclipsers would need similar coverage, to detect
various things in the orbits.

Arne mentioned that most of his work is collaborative these days.  Perhaps
that's what those of you looking at the DS23 data need to consider,
collaboration.  Post a note about stars you are working on, and what you
intend to do.  Others with appropriate equipment or skills could then join you
in your effort.  So what if there are a couple of co-authors.... more
important, and satisfying, I think, is a quality final product.  The first
professional publication I was involved in listed me as one of 41 coauthors.
I don't care, I'm still extremely proud that I, Joe Amateur, am in there.

As a final point, there needs to be differentiation in what I'm saying between
detailed desciption of individual stars (e.g. IBVS papers), and publication of
catalogues of photometric data (e.g. TASS tenxcat).  The aims and requirements
of the two are different.

Good luck and have fun all,

Jim Bedient
Honolulu, Hawaii