August 4, 2015: Dr. Gregory Sivakoff (U. of Alberta) has requested optical monitoring of the galactic microquasar V4641 Sgr beginning immediately, and continuing for the next 120 days, or until it is no longer observable from your location.
Arlo Landolt should be familiar to most of the AAVSO community, not only as a friend and former councillor of the AAVSO, but as one of the leading figures of astronomical photometry and photometric calibrations. Arlo Landolt's work on standard stars has set the standard -- very literally -- for astronomical photometry for nearly half a century.
The AAVSO Guide to CCD Photometry, first published in September 2014, is designed to be a basic introduction and guide to using CCDs to perform photometry of variable stars. With care, you can use a backyard telescope to obtain astrophysically useful data that matches the quality of those produced by professional astronomers, using exactly the same principles and techniques that are used at larger research observatories around the world.
December 6, 2013: Observer Carlo Gualdoni reports via the cvnet-outburst mailing list that the WZ Sge-type dwarf nova AL Comae is in outburst, with a magnitude of V=12.74 on 2013 December 6.185 (JD 2456633.1185). Gary Poyner notes on the BAAVSS mailing list that this is the first observed outburst of AL Com since October 2007. Both visual observations and CCD time series are encouraged.
Nova Delphini 2013 (also named V339 Del) is the biggest cosmic event in variable star astronomy this year, and this naked-eye nova is providing the community a wealth of new data on this important class of objects. The amateur astronomical community has made an enormous contribution of data for Nova Del so far, and now is a good time to review all that's happened so far in this nova outburst, and how the amateur community has played a role.