…continuedMining Hipparcos's Buried Treasure
Practically speaking, this type of research can't be left to the professionals. Telescope time is in great demand at the major observatories; to divert those instruments to the long-term monitoring of individual stars would be downright wasteful. That's why variable-star work remains a field where dedicated amateurs can do some real science.
American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), we at Sky & Telescope are pleased to present our first selection of new Hipparcos variables. The finder charts and comparison-star magnitudes on these pages are just what observers need in order to start figuring out the fluctuations we already know take place. Because these stars vary by a half magnitude or more, even visual estimates can tell a lot. The table on page 5 gives each star's designation, coordinates, and brightness clues from the European Space Agency's Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues. Every star on this list is well placed for examination on May and June evenings. (Another list of Hipparcos variables can be found in the article "A Treasure-Trove of Variable Stars.")