From the Director's desk.
Dear Variable Star Enthusiast,
We need your help so that AAVSO can continue to meet its mission!
Whether you are a dedicated observer tracking stars in the night sky (or the Sun in the day!), a professional astronomer working with our observers to drive science forward, or an enthusiast finding out how bright your favorite star is, you are an essential part of the AAVSO mission. We enable anyone, anywhere to make observations of variable stars with the goal of enhancing our scientific understanding of the Universe. Together, we have worked toward achieving this goal since 1911, and the millions of observations in the AAVSO database stand as a testament to the thousands of dedicated volunteer observers over the years.
You rely on different pieces of our software to gather, process, store, archive, analyze, and visualize variable star observations. AAVSO has organically developed a suite of software tools over time to meet our mission. Although most of these tools work well, some are in need of serious revision, and all need maintenance. By attending to our software infrastructure now, we will enable you, our observers and members, to be more efficient with their observing and analysis in the future. Similarly, by upgrading our database systems, we will help AAVSO improve the accessibility and usability of its data, directly improving how you interact with the AAVSO.
As we approach the end of 2017, I write to you with a special challenge. The AAVSO is joining the Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) movement; we are asking our members to support your community (with your time, donation, gift, or advocacy) on November 28, 2017. As part of this, I am writing to challenge everyone to help us raise $20,000 in AAVSO donations by this date (click here to donate, send a check to the AAVSO with “GivingTuesday” in the note, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appreciated stock donation).
We will use the #GivingTuesday donations to improve our software and systems. We have an engaged team of volunteers that have developed a comprehensive upgrade plan. They have developed an upgrade plan and can do some of the work, but we need to buy programmer time to handle part of the load. Our multi-year goal is to upgrade all of our systems and greatly enhance their functionality and usability for you. Your donation on #GivingTuesday will make this effort possible.
As 2017 winds down, don’t forget that a year-end gift to the AAVSO helps the AAVSO meet its goals and may benefit you through tax deductions. Donations of appreciated stock are welcome and can provide an additional tax advantage to you as a donor. Please contact us for details. With many stock markets at all-time highs, this can be a very attractive way to support variable star astronomy at a significant level.