Stellafane is an experience, especially for a newcomer. But, its an experience for someone returning after several years as well. Continue Reading
Many of you may remember an interesting human interest story that started at the AAVSO some three years ago. Our Sciences Director, Dr. Matthew Templeton, found in the McAteer Library a doctoral thesis entitled "A Photoelectric Study of Some RV Tauri and Yellow Semiregular Variables." Matt went to the ADS to see if the thesis and its data had been digitized. It hadn't. Matt then looked up to see what else the author had written as the thesis has been published in 1956.
In my life away from HQ I am, among many other things, a competitive chess player. (Now, before anyone gets any ideas, remember, I never said I was good!) If anyone has been following me on any social media outlets you can't help but know this because my activities tend to have the same curves as a cataclysmic variable, and right now my chess activity is in outburst.
What does this have to do with astronomy? Well, at the risk of being stereotypical, chess is seen as a smart person's game. Astronomy is seen as being a smart person's activity as well. If Stephanie Slater's research is any indication AAVSO members tend to be even moreso "smarter than your average bear."
On the evening of 7 December this year the world of Astronomy and Chess collided in a rather nice and educational fashion. Continue Reading
The person with the neatest job at the AAVSO (besides me, of course!) is Dr. Mike Saladyga. He gets to wallow about in the history of our organization on a daily basis. And that, of course, enabled he and Dr. Tom Willams to write a book on our history, which everyone should read! History sometimes bowls me over, especially history that I'm at least parenthetically involved in. 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).
Our Assistant Director, Aaron Price, has had a heck of a year!
Early in 2010, he was made Assistant Director of the AAVSO. Later that year we celebrated his defending his Ph.D. But something more unusual, at least for an AAVSO staffer, was on the horizon.
It would seem to an outside observer, perhaps, that AAVSO staffers are more committed to their work than most. While most of us (but not all) are married, the vast majority of us have no children now. With the single exception of Gloria, those that do have children have grown children. Continue Reading
Saturday, 4 December, saw the AAVSO host part of the Boston meeting of the International Occultation Timing Association. What began as a meeting where I'd set up the projector for folks to use the next day grew into a meeting that included video, audio, and collaborative internet transmissions to 35 people at one point around the world, including a presentation from an IOTA member in Australia! Continue Reading
A couple of days ago our Administrative Assistant, Ginny, sent an email to everyone here at HQ commenting on the Holiday Cards that the AAVSO Staff has been sent this year. She mentioned that they were displayed near her desk on the first floor.
This is one of the nice things, in my mind, in working in a small office, particularly AAVSO HQ. In my last job in central NY I worked for a company that ballooned in a couple of years from 225-400 people. We got Holiday cards, sure, but most of them were sent to the company President. Here at the AAVSO, the cards we get are for the staff as a whole, and being included in that is a nice feeling. Continue Reading
The AAVSO has been on the commercial Internet, well, since before there was a commercial Internet. One of the very first projects I did here at the AAVSO, a full year before I started on staff, was to scan in and index the Alert Notices to the ADS. Those were fascinating because you could watch some AAVSO infrastructure changes take place as you read them, like the migration of our network access from a NASA-based address, to BITNet (anyone remember BITNet?) to the address we have now.