V   V A   A R   R SS      T   A   A R   R SS    
         V V  AAAAA RRRR   SSS    T   AAAAA RRRR   SSS  
         V V  A   A R  R     SS   T   A   A R  R     SS 
          V   A   A R   R SSSS    T   A   A R   R SSSS  

Version 20.04.2005


    1. Program Description
    2. System
  2. Installation
  3. Functions
    1. The Main Window
    2. Notes for sun spot counting
    3. Star Selection
    4. Star Parameter
    5. Observations
    6. View
    7. Messages to BAV, AAVSO, AFOEV and VSNET
    8. Others
  4. Starting the program
    1. Parameters
    2. ~/.varstarrc
    3. Filetypes
  5. History
  6. Shareware / Author


1.1 Program Description

VARSTARS is an astronomy software to collect and present observations of variable stars. Graphical display, export and printing of lightcurves and O-C diagrams, monthly reports to the
BAV (Bundesdeutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Veränderliche Sterne), AAVSO and AFOEV and daily reports to VSNET.

1.2 System

  • Linux: varstars is compiled for 486 PC. To run the program the Forms library 0.88 must be installed, which can be downloaded from
  • MS-DOS: The program varstars.exe is running on all PC since 286 in DOS mode. The printing function uses commands for HP printers. The last version is from January 1998.
  • Atari-ST: The last Atari version varstars.prg is from October 1994.
  • 2. Installation

    At first create a directory for the program (e.g. varstar in your home direcory), copy the archive into this directory and unpack it by
    tar -xzf varstar.tar.gz.
    Then copy the configuration file
    .varstarrc_e or the german version .varstarrc as .varstarrc into your home directory:
    cp .varstarrc[_e] ~/.varstarrc

    Now start a text editor to enter your personal settings into this text file, save it and start the varstars program.

    If the program is not running, you may need to compiler the source code. Change into the varstars direcoty and execute make total.

    3. Functions

    3.1 The Main Window

    After starting the main window is opened. On the top a menu bar can be used to select a function with the mouse. Most functions are available via short cuts.

    The main window includes all paremeter of the loaded star. You can easily change the parameters after a mouse click into the items. To load a star please use the Star Selection Box.

    3.1.1 Notes for sun spot counting

    The sun spot data resists in file sonne.stv. To add data please start the program from a shell: varstars sonne . The editing can be done only in a terminal window.

    For every sun spot counting you can enter the date, number of groups and number of single spots. The relative index is calculated as 10 * groups + spots .

    3.2 Star Selection Box

    The Star Selection Box includes two lists: in the left one all available constellations are given. Select one via mouse and cursor keys.

    Simple scrolling can be done by entering the letters of the constellation. Press the escape key to delete the search string.

    For every selected constellation the right list includes all stars. Again you can select a star by mouse or cursor keys. Press the OK button or the Return key to load the stars data.

    Select "Neu" to create a new data file for a star. The next dialog asks for the constellation name and the name of the star.

    All data files are named by the three letter name of the constellation and the index of the star. xamples: CAST for T Cas, SGRV1059 for star V1059 in Sgr and MUSN1998 for the nova of the year 1998 in constellation Muscae.

    If a stars data is loaded, another window opens and presents all observations of the star.

    3.3 Star Parameter

    The following data can be entered for a variable star. It is possible to extract them from the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (GCVS) via the File menu.

    3.4 Observations

    3.5 View

    3.6 Messages to BAV, AAVSO, AFOEV and VSNET

    3.7 Others

    4. Starting the program

    4.1 Parameters

    The follwing parameters can be set when starting VARSTARS:
    vs <-D[ttmmjj|ttt|*]> <-k[-|+]> <-f[b|d|j]> <-z[u|m|s]> <-K.> <-o[observercode]> <-S[BCHMTVX]> <-C[B|G[filename]]> <starname>
    Parameter Function
    Dttmmjj use this date when entering observations
    Dttt difference to the recent date (e.g. 0 for today or 1 for yesterday [default])
    D* Real time for observation entering
    f[bdj] Format of the date (standard as default), decimal or julanic
    n- don't display negative observations
    n+ display negative observations (default)
    zu Timezome UT
    zm Timezone MEZ (default for November to March)
    zs Timezone MESZ (default for April to October)
    o[observercode] use this observer code when enetering observations
    K. Change "," to ".", so "9,1" is read as "9.1".
    SB[<art>] Neueingabe von Beobachtungen in einer "Endlosschleife", die bei der Angabe eines "leeren" Sternnamens abgebrochen wird. Der Sternname muß mit dem Prefix des Filenamens übereinstimmen (z.B. "andr" für das File "andr.stv" oder "CasT" für das File "CasT.stv").
    Die Eingabe des Datums kann entsprechend der Kommandozeilenparametern "D" und "f" verkürzt erfolgen. Es reichen also die Uhrzeit bzw. die Nachkommastellen. Im Falle der Echtzeiteingabe "D*" fällt die Datumseingabe ganz weg.
    Helligkeit und Bemerkungen werden wie üblich eingegeben. AAVSO-Keys müssen mit Großbuchstaben an den Anfang der Bemerkung gesetzt werden. Die Beobachtungsart läßt sich mit dem optionalen Parameter <art> einstellen (0=unbekannt, 1=visuell, 2=fotogr.). Voreingestellt ist der Wert 1.
    SC[<name>] Open the chart viewer with chart of star "name". Main window is not opened!
    SH[parameter0,parameter1,...] Create HTML information page for the given star and a lightcurve for the last "periods" (per=N) or in date range (date0=x,date1=x) in the defined graphical format. The date can be in format DD.MM.YYYY or as Julian date 245xxxxx. Include observer group (group=N) with display form (groupform=N) and/or single observers (obs[0-2]=CODE,obs[0-2]from=N). All observations can be stored in a text file (listobs=1).
    SM <year(4 digits)> <month(2 digits)> <[A(+)B(+)F]> Create montly reports for AAVSO (A), AFOEV (F), BAV (B). Use "A+" or "B+" to print AAVSO- or BAV-lists.
    ST <days> Create VSNET report for the last days (default=1).
    SV<dayavg> Scan a VSNET report file and average all observations with delta=0.6 days or with "dayavg". A list with all scanned and included observations is printed to stderr.
    SX<helligkeit><-tage><+tage><*wochen> Create list of maxima of long period stars (Files vs_lp.html and vs_lp.txt) for a number of weeks and for maxima, which happen in the given range of days. Another file is created for cataclysmic stars in outburst: vs_alert.html. All files of type HTML can be created with a free defined header and footer, which are taken from vs_head.html and vs_head.html or from vs_head_alert.html and vs_tail_alert.html.
    CB Create BAV database
    CG[filename] Create all data files (*.stv) for the stars, which are listed in the given file. Every line includes a star in the AAVSO format: "dddd+dd nn ccc" (Designation, Name, Constellation), e.g. "1037+69 R UMA". The data are taken from the GCVS, if this catalogue is found in the defined path.

    Ist kein filename angegeben, so erzeugt die Funktion Datenfiles zu allen Sternen aus dem GCVS und uebernimmt die Sterndaten. Ist filename = ",T=aemspb,M=mag,A=min~max,P=min~max,D=min~max", so werden nur die passenden Sterne erzeugt: Alle Typen (T=a), Eruptive (T=u, Kombination mit anderen Typen moeglich), Mira (T=m), Halbregelmaessige (T=s), Kurzperiodische (T=r), Bedeckungsveraenderliche (T=e), mindeste maximale Helligkeit der Sterns M=mag, minimale und maximale Amplitude in Magnituden (A=min~max). Bereich der Periode in Tagen (P=min~max), Deklination der Sterne in Grad (D=min~max)

    The star name given as AndR at the program start loads the star's data, e.g. vs andr loads the data fiel or star R And.

    4.2 ~/.varstarrc

    File ~/.varstarrc includes variables which are read at the program start. The textfile uses the syntax "VARIABLE value", all characters after a ";" are taken as a comment.
    Some variables are markes in column RC and written into the file at the program shutdown.
    Variable RC Meaning
    AAVSO - AAVSO observer code
    AFOEV - AFOEV observer code
    ALIAS - Alias für VSNET-Daten: "ALIAS original = muster"
    Z.B. bewirkt "ALIAS cetmira = cetomicron" die Umwandlung des Namens "CetOmicron" in "CetMira", so daß die Helligkeit von "CetOmicron" in das File cetmira.stv geschrieben wird. Für ein Original können auch mehrere Muster durch mehrere ALIAS-Zeilen gesetzt werden. Eingebaut sind bereits die Umwandlungen von "[Sternbild] NOVA xxxx" bzw. "NOVA [Sternbild] xxxx" nach "[Stb]Nxxxx".
    AUTOSCAN_VSNET - if VSNET data file P_VSNET is existing at the program start, all included data are scanned and integrated into the data base
    BAV - BAV observer code
    CITY - City (for AAVSO report)
    COUNTRY - Country (for AAVSO report)
    DR_SPALTEN * Einschub-Spalten für Drucken der Monatsübersicht; bei Wertänderung
    DR_ZEILEN * Einschub-Zeilen für Drucken der Monatsübersicht; bei Wertänderung
    GRAFIK_FONT - The graphical display uses this font.
    GRAFIK_FORMAT - "0" or "gif" for Compuserve-GIF, "1" or "bmp" for Windows-Bitmap, "2" or "ppm" for PPM, "3" or "ps" for Adobe-Postscript
    GRAFIK_X - Width of the graphical display in pixel
    GRAFIK_Y - Height of the graphical display in pixel
    IMPORT_DELTA_T - Default value for averaging beim Datenimport
    INSTR - Instruments (for AAVSO report)
    LANGUAGE - Language de or en (default)
    LINK_IMG - Address of the image link for HTML output
    - automatically sending of monthly reports to AAVSO or AFOEV or daily reports to VSNET; this variable is the command to send an email, e.g.
    mail -s 'vis.obs.' vsnet-obs@ceres.kusastro.kyoto-u.ac.jp
    OBS - Name of the default observer
    P_BAV - Path to the BAV database
    P_CHART - Path to the cart files
    P_GCVS - Path and name of the GCVS file
    P_OBSERVER - Path to the observers list file (observer.lst)
    P_ORGANISATION - Path to the organisation file (oganisation.lst)
    P_OUT - Path to the created output files
    P_STV - Path to the star data files (*.stv)
    P_TMP - Path for temporary data files
    P_VSNET - Path/name of VSNET file
    PRINT - Shell command for printing
    PRINT_INS_X - Einschub an Pixelspalten beim Drucken
    PRINT_INS_Y - Einschub an Zeilen beim Drucken
    STREET - Street (for AAVSO report)
    VSNET_IDENT - VSNET-Bericht mit I-Flag-Beobachtungen
    VSNET_NEGATIV - VSNET-Bericht mit negativen Beobachtungen
    WINPOS * Position und Größe von Fenster. Die Syntax der Variablen lautet
    WP_* <X (oben links)> <Y (oben links)> <Breite> <Höhe>
    WP_BAV_LK * BAV Lightcurve Sheet window
    WP_BEOB * Observations list window
    WP_CHART * Chart window
    WP_HELLGRAF * Lightcurve window
    WP_PHASE * Phase window
    ZIP - Zip-Code (for AAVSO reports)

    4.3 Filetypes

    The general descriptions of each star and the observations are stored in files of type STV.

    Minima and maxima are stored in files of type STE. Each line includes the information of one analyzed result: Type Date Mag ObserverCode Comment. The type is 0 for a minimum and 1 for a maximum. News of the program development (NEWS)

    B. Shareware / Author

    All users of VARSTARS please send me a shareware charge of 9.99 Euro and the filled registration form register.txt. All registered users will receive an email ig a new version is available.

    For questions and hints please ask the author:

    Thorsten Lange
    Plesseweg 77
    37120 Bovenden
    Tel.: 0551/83550