…Star Party, that is. On the weekend of October 8 – 10, 2010, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time which means that I was in Birr, County Offaly, Ireland for a wonderful event called “The Whirlpool Star Party”. Now in its 24th year (not counting a 1-year break), this gathering of astronomers, both professional and amateur, from all over Ireland, the UK, and elsewhere, features informative talks, stargazing and of course, social gatherings.
A year ago, the Bright Star Monitor (BSM) started taking images at Tom Krajci's Astrokolkhoz observatory in New Mexico. Over 87,000 images later, its future looks bright!
The AAVSO's archive of times of maxima and minima of long period variables is almost as old as the AAVSO itself, and we are giving these data new life by re-releasing them to the community in electronic form after a long hiatus. Continue Reading
This summer the AAVSO acquired the entire collection of paper variable star observation reports from the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ). The idea for permanently archiving the paper reports of the RASNZ at AAVSO Headquarters came about through conversations between Arne Henden, VSS Director Tom Richardson, and Grant Christie of the RASNZ.
The collection comprises 12.5 linear feet. The reports have not yet been evaluated, so the total number of observations in the collection is unknown, but certainly it is in the tens of thousands if not in the hundreds of thousands of observations. Continue Reading
Today is a very special day in AAVSO history. October 10, 2010 is our 99th birthday. Although there was no ceremony or parade to mark the occasion, the first published Monthly Report of the American Association of Variable Star Observers appeared in the December 1911 issue of Popular Astronomy, and contained observations from October 10, 1911 to November 10, 1911.
The 365 Days of Astronomy podcast has posted a show today about visualizing epsilon Aurigae. Ryan Wyatt, Director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, was interviewed by Slacker Astronomy. Continue Reading
A distant Cepheid is getting some attention for the first time in decades, thanks in part to some AAVSO observers. Continue Reading
I’m sitting in Tom Smith’s house at Dark Ridge Observatory near Weed, New Mexico, watching the clouds out the window and the cats sleeping on the sofa. The sun breaks through every now and then, but there is a flash flood warning for the rest of the day. Welcome to the Southwestern monsoon! Continue Reading
A new version of Zapper has just been released! Actually, not a lot has changed but I did want to let everyone know that Zapper will no longer display differential magnitudes or unreduced step-magnitudes (which appear as 0.0 magnitude observations in the AAVSO International Database). To get this latest version please go here: http://www.aavso.org/zapper and download it. This page will also describe what Zapper is and how to use it for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about! Continue Reading