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CCD Observing Manual

The CCD Observing Manual 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. The target audience for this manual are beginner- to intermediate-level CCD observers interested in learning how to perform variable star photometry and submitting data to the AAVSO. Advanced CCD users who have not done any photometry may also find this helpful.

Currently the CCD Observing Manual is only in PDF format, rather than as a web page.  You can download the Manual at the link below:

CCD Observing Manual

Please Note: We are in the process of updating and expanding this Manual and hope to have the new version available by late 2014.  In the meantime, observers interested in transforming their data to the standard system may consult this document authored by Dr. Gordon Sarty (U. Saskatchewan). There is also a new AAVSO web page under construction which contains links to some useful tools: Transforms - Everything you need to transform your CCD observations.

The Photometry Forum is also a valuable resource as you can use it to ask questions of other observers.

Please send any feedback or suggestions to



AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 617-354-0484