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Staff Recognition Awards

Special Recognitions

The American Astronomical Society's Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award for exemplary research by an amateur astronomer (2015)

Mike Simonsen

Gamma-Ray Burst Award

This award is given to an amateur astronomer for the discovery of a gamma-ray burst optical afterglow.

Announced at the 103rd Spring Meeting of the AAVSO Ontario, California, June 2014

Arto Oksanen

Solar Observer Awards

In order to recognize the contributions of AAVSO Solar Section contributors, the AAVSO Solar Observer Awards (sunspots only) were initiated at the 1999 Annual Meeting. Sunspot awards are presented to solar observers who have reached milestones of 1000, 1500, 2000, or subsequent increments of 500 sunspot observations by September of a given year. In 2004 a SID awards program was implemented to give equal recognition to SID observers.

Observer Awards for Variable Star Observing

Without the nightly observations of amateur astronomers, the professional astronomer would find it difficult, if not impossible, to collect the quantity of data that is needed to further the study of stars, the Sun, novae and supernovae, comets, and meteors.

The Director's Award

The Director's Award is awarded at the Director's discretion in the form of a plaque to an outstanding observer who contributes to special observing projects or contributes to the work of the AAVSO in other ways.


Kris Larsen of New Britain, Connecticut

The William Tyler Olcott Distinguished Service Award

The William Tyler Olcott Distinguished Service Award—Initiated in 2000, this award is presented to a member of the AAVSO organization for outstanding contributions in mentoring/promoting variable star astronomy.

The Merit Award


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