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[ascl:1704.005] VaST: Variability Search Toolkit

VaST (Variability Search Toolkit) finds variable objects on a series of astronomical images in FITS format. The software performs object detection and aperture photometry using SExtractor (ascl:1010.064) on each image, cross-matches lists of detected stars, performs magnitude calibration with respect to the first (reference) image and constructs a lightcurve for each object. The sigma-magnitude, Stetson's L variability index, Robust Median Statistic (RoMS) and other plots may be used to visually identify variable star candidates. The two distinguishing features of VaST are its ability to perform accurate aperture photometry of images obtained with non-linear detectors and to handle complex image distortions. VaST can be used in cases of unstable PSF (e.g., bad guiding or with digitized wide-field photographic images), and has been successfully applied to images obtained with telescopes ranging from 0.08 to 2.5m in diameter equipped with a variety of detectors including CCD, CMOS, MIC and photographic plates.

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