New AAVSO Member With Interest in PEP and Spectrocopy

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Sat, 08/22/2020 - 22:18

This post was inspired by Tom Calderwood's webcast on PEP.

My name is Steve Barkes and I live in Las Cruces, NM.  I watched the AAVSO webcast on PEP the other day, and the Spectroscopy webcast today.  I went ahead and joined AAVSO last night (Observer BSTC).  Anyhoo, I received/inherited a generation 1 SSP3A from an member of our club.  It looks like it has never been used, and I’d like to change that.  The original owner didn’t even build the cable for the stepper control.  I do a lot of development for astronomy and amateur radio using Arduino and Raspberry PI.  I was going to build a stepper controller for the OPTEC using an Arudino.

  After watching your webcast, I’m very interested the Arduino project you had for grabbing the output from the photometer.  Can you send me some details on the hardware and the sketch you are using?  My OPTEC unit has the Clr U B V R I filters.  After sitting for so long, I’m hoping the filters are still fine.


I’m also doing some spectroscopy and have a Star Analyzer 200 diffraction grating and an ALPY 600 with guiding and calibration units.


I know nothing about photometry, and need to come up to speed slowly, but eventually I’m thinking of dual spectroscopic and photometric observations of relatively short period objects.


I thoroughly enjoyed the webcast and your presentation.  I’d love to see all of the supplemental slides that you didn’t end up presenting.


Steve (BSTC)

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)

Hello! Welcome to the AAVSO! I don't do either PEP or spectroscopy, so I can't help you with the questions. I'm sure a number of folks will weigh in. I just wanted to say hello.

    A few AAVSO members have ties to Las Cruces, both past and present, so you'll find company. Best regards.


American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Hello Steve!


I'll contact you directly.  We have added more "seats" to the PEP CHOICE class that starts in September.



American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
PEP Choice class

Thanks Tom!  I sent an email to enroll in the PEP course.

I see that the VPhot course is full.  Are PEP folks using VPhot, or doing their own reduction via spreadsheet?  I probably don't need that class right now but need to spend my time reading and playing with some test targets.