It is amazing what two-dozen people can get done in a weekend if they are organized, serious and willing to put in the time and effort to make the most of a two and a half day workshop. I opened up the Google Drive page containing all the final drafts of six chapters written at the workshop and edited during this past week and the material is shaping up into what I believe will be a very useful introduction and instruction manual for newcomers to DSLR photometry.
The work was divided into several main categories and an outline produced weeks before the workshop. The final division of material into nascent chapters consists of Introduction, Equipment, Software, Image Acquisition, Image Processing and a suggested Observing Program much like the ten star tutorials created for Citizen Sky. I was in the group, led by Des Loughney from Scotland, who selected the program stars and wrote the introduction and description of the ten stars for the northern and southern hemisphere observers. All these chapters will be edited, by AAVSO staff mostly, and turned into an instruction manual, with all the authors getting equal credit.
To be honest, I was looking forward to meeting and getting to know some of the workshop participants better, but the pace and effort put in during the intense all day sessions on Friday and Saturday, and the “push this thing over the goal line” attitude on the remaining half-day Sunday really didn’t leave any room for chit chat or small talk. This was not at all like an annual meeting where we purposely schedule in plenty of time for people to network and socialize. This workshop was all business.
While the final proof of concept will be the manual that comes out of this workshop, the preliminary evaluation looks very positive. I had a chance to speak at length with the independent evaluator from Rockman et al on Sunday, and he had very good things to say about the way the AAVSO conducted this workshop and the effort put into it by the participants. He had seen several of these kinds of activities before and indicated this was one of the better workshops he had seen. I’m certain his report to the National Science Foundation, who funded this event through a grant, will be very positive.
I hope all the participants enjoyed their brief stay in Boston and came away from the event feeling it was worth the time and expense to attend, and I hope they can all make it back to see us again some time for an annual meeting or the next workshop or special event put on by the AAVSO. From all of us on the staff and from a grateful membership and observer corps, thank you very much for your time and expertise.