VSX - Do It Yourself

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Tue, 11/29/2022 - 15:00

The Variable Star IndeX (VSX) is our megadatabase of variable stars.
We try to provide complete, accurate and up-to-date information on each of the objects included in it.
But with more than 2 million objects (and many millions waiting to be added), this is not an easy task.
That's where you -our observers, data-miners, researchers, colleagues- play a very important role: you can help us revising existing entries, adding new information,  submitting new entries, correcting mistakes.
VSX follows a "do-it-youself" approach. You can create a VSX account and change the relevant information -as long as you add proper supporting documentation or/and literature references-.

We often receive emails from observers requesting the addition of references, new objects, AUIDs, etc.
Unfortunately, we can't use our time to add objects on an individual basis because we have a continuous backlog of variable star lists, alert objects and journal papers to process. Single object additions take time and that's when we need you to do it yourself.

So the first step is to create a VSX account if you haven’t got one:


And you should read all the available online help that will show you how a VSX submission or revision should be prepared:


Regarding references, we do not think of VSX as a complete source of bibliography, you have SIMBAD and the ADS for that. The references added to VSX are those that are used to revise some of the information shown in the star page. E.g.: if you revise a star period from a JAAVSO paper, then you add the reference to that JAAVSO paper because you used it to revise the entry. So the usual approach will be submitting a revision -including a reference- and not just adding a reference on its own.

And about AUIDs, we now have an automated AUID assignment process in place. Use the Request AUID link in the AAVSO UID field if you need to submit data for a star without an AUID. An AUID will be assigned automatically if the star is a known confirmed variable with an acceptable range. Otherwise, VSX moderators will receive a notification and assign the AUID eventually or contact you in order to get more details.
Using VSX to request an AUID is the fastest way to get an AUID assigned. E-mails to HQ may take several days to be acted upon.

I hope this clears up some doubts and we encourage you to follow this "do-it-yourself" approach.

Thanks and best wishes,

Efficient way of submitting stars and asking for sequences


Thank you for this reminder.

I'm currently working on data mining all the data we have at my observatory (Observatoire des Baronnies Provençales, Moydans, France), we perform exoplanetary transits (among other things) since ~2014.

I am looking for an efficient way to submit to VSX a potential large number of Gaia DR3 variable stars that are not yet included in the database, without wasting the time of the VSX team or mine (by doing one-by-one submissions). Then, it would be good to submit the light curves to the AAVSO database but to do it, I need a sequence for each new star (or one sequence per field of view).

(It's almost certain that all the variable stars I will find in our archive are already detected by Gaia, I will use the DR3 catalog to find them directly)

My process would be:

  • find a number x of Gaia variables in an "old" or "recent" field of view, 
  • cross-match with VSX to find the missing ones and add them to a list
  • Gather all the informations for all the targets in the list (from surveys observations and our own observations)
  • Submit to VSX the relevant targets
  • Ask for a sequence for each target / field of view
  • build the light curves in AAVSO format
  • upload the data

I can automate a lot of steps here but not the VSX submissions and sequences requests.

What would be the most efficient way to submit a list of already known variable stars in VSX? 


Clear skies


American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Gaia DR3 variables and batch submissions to VSX

Hi Sacha,

My first question would be why Gaia DR3 variables? Do you mention them because there are so many and they will randomly show up in your images? Or is there any specific reason to select them? Because some of them may be just small amplitude stuff not really worthy of  much effort. There may be interesting objects among them but you won't know until you solve them or analyze them.

Having said that. I recommend submitting a couple of those objects individually to VSX so you learn experience and we can confirm that your submissions do not require further checks. After that, you can submit lists of objects. I am preparing a document with instructions to prepare lists, because several people are now asking for such information due to them having many objects to submit.
I'll let you know when it is done.

Gaia DR3 variables are split into several smaller catalogues and adding them is a plan for 2023, when we will try to incorporate several of the big missing catalogues to VSX. So these stars will eventually be added to VSX, but it is true that any individual analysis made by you, the observers, combining Gaia DR3 data with your own data and survey data (ZTF, ASAS-SN, etc.) will always be of higher quaility, allowing for a much better classification and period determination. So if you want to do it, go ahead, but be aware that there may be anything among the Gaia variables, including many run of the mill boring objects - LOL.

In order to know how to proceed with Gaia DR3 variables not yet in VSX, regarding credit, naming and referencing, please click on this post: