Online Resources for Beginning Observers
AAVSO Visual Observing Manual
This is the 'official' handbook for AAVSO observers. You can view it online or download it for FREE!
CCD Observing Manual
A handbook designed for the beginning CCD Observer.
A simple guide to making visual variable star observations using ten bright stars.
Introduction to: AAVSO and How to Make a Visual Estimate
This Powerpoint presentation by Chuck Pullen (also known as the "Telescope Simulator") gives a good introduction to the AAVSO and variable star observing and also lets you test your skills at making magnitude estimates.
Thanks to the translation skills of volunteers, there is also a Spanish version available (by Jaime Garcia):
¡Aprenda cómo divertirse haciendo observaciones de estrellas variables!
and a Chinese version (by Tao Fan-Lin):
Contributing to Science With Your CCD Equipment
This article published by Tim Crawford in Amateur Astronomy magazine is helpful for beginning CCD observers. (pdf format)
Most newcomers start out as visual observers, but AAVSO offers many ways to contribute to science!
Here is where you find the charts with comparison star sequences. Download as many as you want, they're FREE! If you need a more general chart which shows where variables are located within a constellation, try using one of the charts from the table below.
Stars Easy to Observe
Start here and save yourself some time. These stars have been selected as being easy to find, easy to recognize and have excellent charts.
Bulletin of LPV Predictions
Will the star you plan to observe tonight be bright enough to see in your telescope? You'll find the answer for over 500 long period variables (LPVs) in the Bulletin.
Request an Observer Code
You must fill out this form to request an "Observer Code" before you can send in any observations. The unique set of initials then issued to you will be attached to every observation you make for life and will become a permanent part of the AAVSO International Database.
Submitting Observations to the AAVSO
How do you submit observations to AAVSO once you've made and recorded them?
How to Refer to Stars with Greek Letter Names
The AAVSO has a standard way to do this which may not be intuitive. Please read!
About Julian Dates
Julian dates? What are they? Why do astronomers use them? How can I figure them out? Is it complicated? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
Software for entering observations, analyzing data, solar observing, educational software and its all FREE! Julian dates? Our software figures it out for you! I told you we had you covered.
AAVSO Variable Star Bookstore
A listing of selected books on variable stars, observing variable stars, stellar evolution and much more, with links to purchase them directly from amazon dot com.