The 89th Spring Meeting of the AAVSO was held in Huntsville, Alabama from April 13th to 15th, 2000 in conjunction with a very exciting High Energy Astronomy Workshop for amateur astronomers.
This was the first amateur-accessible workshop to explore the High Energy Universe and the way that it is manifested at all wavelengths from gamma-ray to visual. The 2-day workshop took place Thursday, April 13th and Friday, April 14th, and was hosted by astronomers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center - including 1998 Annual Meeting invited speaker and current AAVSO member, Dr. Gerald Fishman. Experts on all regions of the high energy spectrum discussed how the universe reveals itself through these different spectral regions as obtained through various satellite observations. Many educational materials relating to the High Energy Universe were distributed to all workshop attendees. The workshop also included field trips to both the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and the Marshall Space Flight Center.
There were a limited number of spaces available in this ground- breaking workshop. Those interested in attending were asked to complete a simple application form. Successful applicants must be willing to share the information and materials gathered at the workshop with their local schools and/or astronomy clubs.
All sessions were held at the Huntsville Marriott, which is conveniently located down the the street from the Marshall Space Flight Center and on the grounds of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The Marriott provides free shuttle transportation to and from the Huntsville airport. The hotel is also a pick-up point on "The Tourist Loop", a Huntsville sightseeing shuttle route.
The meeting was a very interesting and exciting weekend for anyone interested in high energy astronomy. The city of Huntsville is certainly a technology center and has been dubbed by some to be America's Space Capitol. In addition, the area is rich with many interesting shopping and sightseeing opportunities for spouses and families!