Last month the AAVSO co-hosted its Spring Meeting with the American Astronomical Society in downtown Boston. I hope those of you who attended found it as much fun as I did. I also hope you've had a chance to rest up as well -- there was a lot happening at this meeting! We had our own activities from Saturday through Monday, and had a full slate of fun and interesting AAS sessions to attend throughout the rest of the week as well. There was plenty of great science throughout the week, and with this being one of the best-attended Summer AAS meetings in recent history there were plenty of things to see and people to talk to. Continue Reading
This last month was my first American Astronomical Society meeting. While the attendance at the Boston AAS Summer Meeting was listed as rather large, the AAS Summer meetings are the smaller of the two annual AAS Meetings (Winter, Summer).
I'm sure you will hear more about it from others, but from my point of view, the 100th Spring meeting of the AAVSO held jointly with the AAS was an excellent opportunity to distribute copies of Dorrit Hoffleit's wonderful autobiography, Misfortunes as Blessings in Disguise.
When this book was published in 2002, thanks to Dorrit's generosity, we printed many more copies than we could sell. Keeping boxes of books squirreled away in our storeroom at HQ just didn't make any sense—we wanted to get the books out to people who might enjoy them (Donna Young has distributed many to teachers at her workshops), but mailing it out to libraries around the country was prohibitively expensive.
So what to do? Continue Reading
Since the very beginning, AAVSO observers have been assigned observer codes. These letter combinations are used to identify the individuals who have submitted data to the database for a number of reasons. For better or worse, once you have been assigned an observer code it is yours forever.
I've spent some time recently preparing a presentation about the AAVSO Centennial for a number of amateur meetings. This angle on the centennial covers how changes in professional astronomy over the last 100 years have been reflected in the amateur community - using the history of VSO in the AAVSO as the narrative. Continue Reading
Thanks to volunteer data miner/digitizer and AAVSO member Bob Stine of Newbury Park, California, the AAVSO International Database is richer by over 3,200 historical observations of Nova Per Nr. 2 (1901) = GK Per.
The improvement to the accessible light curve for this star is both dramatic and vital, as the data which Bob digitized covers the 18 months following the outburst--from February 18, 1901 to August 8, 1902--as can be seen in the light curve shown here.
DAY 3: NEAF
The day broke ugly and turned worse with a hard rain and a chill wind. This was actually good news for the NEAF organizers. Bad weather drives attendance up. NEAF was packed!
If you have never attended the Northeast Astronomy Forum and Telescope Show (NEAF) it's hard to understand what all the buzz is really all about. But once you've seen telescopes and astronomy equipment on display as far as you can see in an auditorium this size you'll never forget. I always lose my breath for a minute and then have to resisit the urge to just go running and screaming down the aisles like a little kid let loose in the biggest candy store ever. Continue Reading
In December, 2010, Richard Berry donated appreciated stocks valued at almost $7000.00 to the AAVSO to commission another Bright Star Monitor survey telescope and asked that it be named in honor of his brother Martin Bruce Berry. Continue Reading
In 1998 I was hired as the AAVSO's "IT person". At the time the AAVSO had a 56K frame relay connection to the Internet (your current smartphone probably has faster access) and as much copper coax cable as ethernet. We were a MSDOS/Windows95/Windows NT network with one CDROM in the entire building that staff had to share. I was a former webmaster with extensive Windows NT experience and almost no UNIX experience. The AAVSO had a Linux box that ran the web, FTP, DNS and e-mail servers. Managing it was contracted out. I was 23-years old with a grand total of 2 years of sysadmin experience under my belt. Continue Reading