Today is a very special day in AAVSO history. October 10, 2010 is our 99th birthday. Although there was no ceremony or parade to mark the occasion, the first published Monthly Report of the American Association of Variable Star Observers appeared in the December 1911 issue of Popular Astronomy, and contained observations from October 10, 1911 to November 10, 1911.
As AAVSO archivist and historian Michael Saladyga wrote in Note on a Determination of the Date of the Founding of the AAVSO , JAAVSO vol. 34, 2006, “This date marks the transition between the final report of variable star observations made by an unaffiliated individual, W. T. Olcott, and the first AAVSO report of observations made by Olcott and other members of the new organization, published in the December 1911 issue of Popular Astronomy.”
As such, it also happens to be the beginning of a very special year in the history of the AAVSO, our Centennial Year. On October 10, 2011 the AAVSO will celebrate its 100th birthday as an organization and we plan to spend the year leading up to this date celebrating our proud history and looking forward to the next 100 years.
In honor of our 100 years the AAVSO Spring Meeting will be held May 21-26, 2011, as a joint meeting with AAS in Boston.
Throughout the year we will offer special website features, fund raising activities and collectibles for sale through our online store.
The formal celebration will be held at our Fall Meeting, October 5-8, at both headquarters and the Hilton Hotel in Woburn, Massachusetts. There will be a special banquet for all past councilors and officers of the AAVSO; a dedication ceremony where we will officially unveil the latest improvements to the interior and exterior of headquarters; we will re-hang the Clinton Ford Astronomical Research Center sign on the newly painted exterior and hold an open house at headquarters the evening before the meeting moves to the Woburn Hilton.
The second half of the celebration, the two-day meeting at the Hilton, will have the usual membership meeting and paper sessions, a guest lecture on Friday, readings and a book signing of the new centennial history book by Mike Saladyga and Tom Williams and culminate with a centennial celebration banquet on Saturday night.
While we will be reminding ourselves of all that has gone before in the first one hundred years of the AAVSO, we will also be looking forward to the next one hundred years of variable star research, pro/am collaboration and international cooperation. So for today, let me be the first to say Happy Birthday, AAVSO; and many, many more!