10-Star Training Tutorial

The 10-Star Training Tutorials are designed for novices who have no prior experience observing variable stars. It is a walk through of how to find the star, how to make an estimate and how to submit the estimate to the AAVSO. If you are new to the AAVSO then these are great tutorials to get you started.

The tutorial begins with stars that are easy to find and observe. Slowly the stars become more challenging as you go down the list. By the time you reach Epsilon Aurigae at the bottom of the list, you’ll be an expert variable star observer contributing real data to professional scientists!

We are grateful to Astronomers Without Borders for their assistance with compiling the southern hemisphere tutorial.

Some of these stars can only be seen during certain seasons of the year. If a star is currently “out of season” for you, just skip it and come back to it later when the time is right.

  Star Name Season Notes                    
Stars in our 10 Star Training Tutorial (Northern)
1 alpha Orionis Fall, Winter a.k.a. Betelgeuse, a red star in the "arm pit" of Orion
2 eta Geminorum Fall, Winter  
3 gamma Cassiopeia All Year Cassiopeia is an easy constellation to find - it looks like a giant "W" written on the sky
4 beta Persei Winter This star has an entire eclipse in one night! See chart in the PDF file for more info.
5 beta Lyrae Summer  Very easy to find in the summer – it’s next to the bright star straight overhead!
6 R Lyrae Summer  
7 miu Cephei All Year  Note the spelling of “miu”. This is intentional, to replace the greek character “mu”.
8 delta Cephei All Year  
9 eta Aquilae Summer  
10 epsilon Aurigae Winter, Spring  


Stars in our 11-Star Training Tutorial (Southern Hemisphere)
s Star Name Season
(southern hem.)


1 X Sagittarii Winter  When observing X Sagittarii, you are observing the Milky Way center.
2 W Sagittarii Autumn, Winter  This is actually a triple star system that appears as one star from Earth.
3 eta Aquilae Winter  Discovered in 1784.
4 kappa Pavonis Winter  
5 zeta Phoenicis Winter, Spring  It is usually at maximum light, so catching it in an eclipse takes patience but is also extra rewarding.
6 beta Doradus Spring, Summer  
7 V Puppis Summer  
8 alpha Orionis Summer, Spring  
9 R Doradus Summer, Fall  Need binoculars.
10 I Carinae Summer, Autumn, Winter  the "l" is a lower-case "L", not an "i".
11 (bonus) R Carinae Summer Autumn, Winter  Need a telescope when it is faint.

 Feel free to make extra copies to give to friends, family and anyone else interested. If you would like to hand out a bunch of these at a meeting, contact us and we can print and mail copies to you.