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Celebrating 100 Years

One Hundred Years of Variable Star Observing & Science

As amazing as it might seem, 2011 is the 100th anniversary of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. That's a century of citizen scientists working together to advance science, whether it be by supporting the research of professional astronomers or each other.

Today we stand on the brink of our next century and we already know it will be even greater than the last. Today "amateurs" have equipment and techniques that just 10 years ago would have been denied to many professionals. With data coming at us via several fire hoses, we are needed today more than ever.

One hundred years is a significant achievement in the life of any organization, and we're going to celebrate in a multitude of ways.  Here are some things that you can look forward to from the AAVSO through 2011 - our Centennial Year!


We have not just one, but two special meetings planned for the Centennial Celebration.Meetings

  • Spring 2011: Boston, MA; 21-26 May.
    Underlining the increasing cooperation between amateurs and professionals our Spring Meeting will be in Boston, held jointly with the American Astronomical Society - the main professional body of astronomers within the United States. Many variable star talks and events are being planned involving science sessions, historical VSO sessions, VSO plenary talks, a HQ reception and more.
  • Fall 2011: Woburn, MA; 5-8 October.
    Our official 100th Anniversary Meeting will be celebrated in style. We're planning bus tours of previous AAVSO headquarters, a dedication of the Dorrit Hoffleit HQ project, a time capsule dedication, invited speakers and much more. If you have never been to an AAVSO meeting or haven't attended one in awhile, this is the one not to miss!

LogoNew Logo Contest
Are you artistic in nature? Is there a creative side to your scientific side? Variable star astronomy is constantly changing. We've always taken advantage of the latest advances, and our look should reflect that. Do you have an idea to communicate what the AAVSO is to those who are looking for us...and those who might not know they should be yet? The Logo Contest could be your road to fame!


Observer Challenges
A century ago we started out as a group of people observing and keeping track of variable stars. Today this activity still remains the core of our mission. Ready to challenge yourself? Take a look at one of the 2011 Observing Challenges we have going and see if you can rise to the top over the next year!


AAVSO Timeline
One hundred years is enough time for many, many things to have happened. How well do you know the history of variable star observing? How well do you know the AAVSO's history? Our Timeline will give details on important events in AAVSO history, as they happened. As the year progresses, the time line will be slowly filled in with events that occured on "that day in history". Stop by frequently to see the timeline grow!

It's Anything But Trivial!
What single month were all of the AAVSO Director's born in? Where was the AAVSO's first Spring Meeting held? When did we receive our first observation of SN 1987A? The website you're reading now - when was it born?  Think you know the answers? Prove it by taking the AAVSO Centennial Triva Challenge and compete with your fellow variable star trivia buffs on our ongoing leaderboards!

AAVSO Sightings

The AAVSO is truly an international organization with the majority of our observations coming from outside of the United States. Show us who you are, and show your pride in the AAVSO. The AAVSO Sightings forum will build a photo archive (and dialog) of our members and observers at both unique and everyday places. Each picture, though, will be distinguished by its subject having or wearing something that identifies them as an AAVSO Member/Observer. Show us your pride!

Star Party Talks
AAVSO staff are scheduled to speak at the Nebraska (Mike), Texas (Mike), Table Mountain (Rebecca) and Stellafane (Arne) star parties and the NEAIC and ALCon conferences. We are also in talks for possible representation at the Black Forest, Connecticut and Saskatechwan star parties. On top of that, many AAVSO members and observers will be giving talks at their local star parties. This page will keep track of the talks as they are scheduled. The talks will be about the last century of VSO, but tailored to their local geographical contributions.

Centennial T-Shirt Campaign
The materials and other hard costs to the AAVSO for these celebrations are estimated to be around US$10,000. To help raise the funds, we have designed a limited-edition, commemorative t-shirt autographed individually by Arne. We are only selling 200 of these t-shirts at $50 a piece to cover the cost of the centennial celebration and shirts. These shirts will never be reprinted or sold again! Get them while you can!

An Ever Ascending Lightcurve!
This century celebration will take the year to properly get through. Join us as we look back on the last century, and look forward to the new one. The AAVSO's lightcurve is one that has yet to go dimmer. How bright will be we get?

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