What Should I Observe?
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is What stars should I observe? The answer is that you should observe whatever stars work well with your equipment and that you enjoy most - we do not make assignments! However, if you would like suggestions, here are some to help you along.
AAVSO Alert Notices for Observing Campaigns and Discoveries - Announcements of discoveries and observing campaigns as requested by professional astronomers.
AAVSO Binocular Program - A list of 153 popular stars that are suitable for binocular observers.
Easy to Observe Stars - A selection of good stars for beginning visual observers to start with.
AAVSO Target Tool - This tool provides you with lists of observing targets for each observing section as well as information on when the stars were last observed.
AAVSO Long Period Variable (LPV) Legacy Program - These are LPVs which have been monitored for a long time (over 100 years in some cases) and we want to make sure the observations continue!
AAVSO Cataclysmic Variable (CV) Legacy Program - A list of CVs which have been followed for at least 25 years.
Observing Sections - Each individual observing section publishes their own lists of stars to observe. Why not browse for ideas?
More Observer Tools, Resources, and References
AAVSO's robotic telescope network
AAVSO Spectroscopy database upload and download access
- Constellation names and abbreviations
Official constellation abbreviations used by most AAVSO tools
- Eclipsing Binary and RR Lyr Ephemerides
For planning EB and RR Lyr observing sessions
- Exoplanet Database
AAVSO database of exoplanet transits upload and download tool
- How to Refer to Stars with Greek Letter Names
The AAVSO has a standard way to do this which may not be intuitive. Please read!
- JD Calculator and Calendars
Convert any date and time to Julian Date
- Mentor Program
Take advantage of this Members Only benefit to get help with observing
- Observation Planner Tool
Find out what variables are visible tonight
- Software Directory
Miscellaneous software developed by and for AAVSO
- Suggested Observing Cadence
Guidance on how often to observe different types of variables
Reports and Notifications
- Data Usage Reports
Sign up to get notifications when others download your data
- Observation Notifications
Receive email notifications about variable star activity
Charts and Sequences
- Constellation Charts
A set of charts showing entire constellations to help you locate bright variables
- Chart and Sequence Updates
A list of recent changes made to variable star charts and comparison star sequences
Report a chart error
- Landolt Standard Stars in VSP
Plot charts with Landolt standards
- Request a new sequence
Ask the chart team for comparison stars for your favorite variable
Learn about individual variable stars
- Eclipsing Binary O-C Files
Over 5200 Observed-Computed (O-C) files of eclipsing binaries created by Bob Nelson
- Long Period Variable of the Month Archive
Interesting and informative articles about individual long period variable stars
- Variable Star of the Season Archive
Articles about individual variable stars
- Variable Star Astronomy
A set of hands-on educational materials, activities, and investigations utilizing AAVSO data
- Reporting discoveries
Procedure for reporting new variable star discoveries
Please note that, by participating in all AAVSO activities, you are expected to follow our Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy. Participation is taken to signify your acknowledgment that you have read these guidelines/policies and your agreement to adhere to them.