In October, just before the 101st Annual Meeting, I was asked to take on a big project: finding every current AAVSO member who has been a member for at least 25 cumulative years. With huge changes in technology and the way this data was stored at HQ in the last 25 years, it ended up being an intricate, meticulous job. And because of the diverse group of members we have, it also uncovered some interesting pieces of information! Continue Reading
With the publication of JAAVSO 40.2, the epsilon Aurigae special issue, and JAAVSO 40.1, the 100th anniversary issue, the journal staff will now pause and catch their breath.
While Associate Editor Elizabeth Waagen and I were admiring the look and heft of the printed copies of these two volumes, EOW remarked that the total page count of 40.1 and 40.2 exceeds the number of pages in the first several volumes of JAAVSO. Continue Reading
What is it about a total solar eclipse that impels people to travel to all kinds of far-flung corners of the world just to enjoy a few minutes of basking in the shadow of the moon? Is it for science, an addiction, the excuse to travel, or just plain craziness? For me, the answer is all of the above! In any case, those are the reasons my husband John O’Neill (ONJ) and I made the long trek to Queensland, Australia last month.
There are many phenomena one can look for during a total solar eclipse besides the beautiful corona; the diamond ring, Baily’s beads, shadow bands, etc. etc. I would argue that another would be the associated human migration. As eclipse day draws near, people from all over the globe begin congregating in the approximately 100 mile (150 km) wide path of totality. Where the shadow passes over the sea, people take to ships in order to position themselves well. Some people travel on their own, others join groups, tours, or expeditions. Continue Reading
We are thrilled to annouce that Citizen Sky has a new permanent home at the AAVSO! Citizen Sky will be the hub of bright variable star activities at the AAVSO. Currently these activites include binocular observing and DSLR observing but we have ideas for even more programs/projects. Continue Reading
While doing some database checking today, I got a very interesting figure: between November 28, 2011 and November 28, 2012 (today, as I write this), 1.8 million observations were submitted to the AAVSO. One point eight million. It's mind-boggling. Continue Reading
At the moment, I'm taking a short break from doing some programming and beta testing for our latest AAVSOnet telescope to come online, Bright Star Monitor - South. This is a twin of the Bright Star Monitor that ran in New Mexico for the past few years, but installed on the opposite side of the world. BSM-South is hosted by Peter Nelson (NLX) a few dozen miles east of Melbourne, Australia, and has been operating in a "hands-on" capacity for several months now. Continue Reading
The 101st Annual Meeting of the AAVSO was held last weekend in metro-Boston. Despite Sandy's best efforts, we only lost a handful of attendees to storm-related travel woes.
Several months ago I was invited by French AAVSO member, Laurent Corp, to give a talk for CAPAS 2012, a pro-am astronomy conference on double stars and variable stars in Rodez, France. I was happy to oblige and agreed to give a talk on 'Pulsating Stars in the AAVSO Program'. Neither the organizers or I could afford to fly me to France, so we agreed to do the presentation via Skype.
I sent them an advance copy of my PowerPoint which they translated into French. They would display the slides on two screens, one in English, the other in French, and on a third screen would be the live webcam shot of my cheery face, blown up to giant talking head dimensions. The early afternoon time slot I was assigned translated to 8:30AM local time on Saturday, September 29, the same day I was leaving to drive to Boston, via Buffalo, New York. Continue Reading
We are getting serious about installing telescopes at HQ. As a precursor to actual observing, we’ve installed a Moonglow Technologies all-sky camera, purchased through the generosity of CCD School attendees. Continue Reading
Wherever we travel, my husband and I like to squeeze in a visit to an observatory or visit another place of astronomical interest if we can. A recent trip to Los Angeles for a nephew's wedding was no exception. After all the festivities associated with the happy occasion were over we found ourselves with a rental car and an extra day on our hands - perfect!