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Mentor Program

(If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor, please click here.)

Why should I have a mentor?

The Mentor Program pairs new observing members with experienced observers who help teach observing techniques, tools, methods, etc., as well as give advice on target selection and interesting projects to pursue.


How to Connect with a Mentor

First: Become an AAVSO member

This program is included in the annual dues that members pay, which help AAVSO, a nonprofit organization, pursue its mission of enabling anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronoomy. (Click for a full list of member benefits). 

Then: contact the AAVSO at with the following information:

  • What kind of observing you are interested in: Visual? CCD? DSLR?
  • Any previous experience with observing
  • Any equipment you use
  • Which city/state/country you live in


The Program

The Mentor Program is carried out entirely by volunteers who teach members who observe visually, or via CCD or DSLR how to do everything from printing comparison star charts, to finding the variables in the sky, to reporting uncertainty in their CCD/DSLR observation reports. 

Mentors may also connect you with active AAVSO observers near you. More often, mentoring happens remotely via email, Skype, and phone calls. A simple chat with an experienced observer may provide all the feedback you need to continue progressing as an AAVSO observer.


Additional Beginner Resources

Links to online resources for beginning observers can be found in the New Observers section of the "For Observers" page.

" is a fact that only by the observation of variable stars can the amateur turn his modest equipment to practical use, and further to any great extent the pursuit of knowledge in its application to the noblest of the sciences."
-- William Tyler Olcott, AAVSO Founding Father, March 1911

Become a mentor

If you are an experienced observer (visual, CCD, DSLR, or PEP) and are interested in volunteering your time and expertise to help new observers become proficient, we can certainly use your help! Just contact the Mentor Program coordinator, at

Location of AAVSO mentors, February 2019

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