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The VVS Working Group Variable Stars

VVS WVS is the acronym for the Working group Variable Stars of the Belgian astronomical association VVS. In Dutch this is written as "Vereniging Voor Sterrenkunde, Werkgroep Veranderlijke Sterren". The VVS counts currently 15 working groups. Here you'll find a brief summary of the VVS WVS' history.

De observers during a working group meeting in 2001

In august 1969, Frans Van Loo founded the working group variable stars.
The original aim was to observe a small group of long period variables and semi-regulars as frequently as possbile, using small telescopes. During the first year, 7 observers reported 861 observations.

From 1973 until 1979 the observations were published in reports. These documents contained the observations of all observers who did more than 100 observations per year. In 1976, the first issue of "Varial" was published. Varial appeared six times a year and intended to inform the observers on a regular base on the activities of the working group and of course the variable stars themselves.

1977 was a super-year : 17159 observations were reported!
From 1979 until the mid-eighties the number of observations leveled at about 5000 per year. The number of observations decreased at the end of the eighties until a minimum in 1990. That time, a new communication medium emerged : the Internet. The VVS started a Bulletin Board System. This enabled fast announcements of new discoveries and improved the contacts between the members. Consequently, the activity of the working group raised rapidly. In 1995, more than 25000 observations were reported.

Just before the Internet era, the last issue of Varial appeared at the end of 1987. From this point in time, working groups started to publish their results in "Werkgroepeninfo" : a magazine that gathered the results of several working groups. By 2000 most working groups distributed their results electronically and "Werkgroepeninfo" disappeared from the scene.

In 1990, the AAVSO organized the first meeting outside the United States. The meeting was held at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and hosted by the VVS. Professional astronomers and amateurs from 30 countries attended this meeting.

In 1994, the working group director Paul Van Cauteren together with Tonny Vanmunster started the Cataclysmic Variables Alert Programme (CVAP). The scope was to observe less known cataclysmic variables in order to establish the identification and sub-class. The Cataclysmic Variable Circulars (CVC), distributed via the Internet, informed the observers on the activity of cataclysmic variables. The publication stopped in 1999 because the VSNET mailing list already fulfilled the role of quick releases of information on outbursting activities.

The Working Group Directors
1969-1981 Frans Van Loo
1981-1985 Patrick Wils
1986-1987 Frank Deboosere
1987-1991 Ludwig Cluyse
1991-1996 Paul Van Cauteren
1996-2008 Eric Broens
2008- Hubert Hautecler

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