[Note: if you are seeking confirmation of what you believe is a recent discovery, go to this page on reporting potential discoveries. For general inquiries, please use our Contact form and select "General Observing" as the subject.]
AAVSO Observing Campaigns are special projects concentrating on one star or a number of stars for a given researcher and for a specific research program. Campaigns are designed to obtain a specific set of data or fulfill a specific research objective, and should be (a) within the capabilities of a significant number of AAVSO observers, and (b) last for a finite length of time.
The AAVSO will issue a call for observations at its discretion, but any well-justified program is eligible for AAVSO support. If you have questions about establishing an AAVSO Observing Campaign, or if you believe your research program would benefit from the participation of the AAVSO observer community, please contact the AAVSO Campaign Coordinator. The AAVSO can assist with campaigns beyond announcing them; if your project requires substantial assistance of AAVSO staff, we may request grant support for staff activities. Also, please consider becoming a member if you are not one already!
An observing campaign is announced to our observers via an AAVSO Alert Notice. Please go to the Alert Notices page for more information and for the list of Alert Notices issued to date. Observers learn about campaign-related observing targets via the Alert Notices and the AAVSO Target Tool.
[Note: if you are inquiring about establishing your own personal observing program, about observations in general, or in learning more about the AAVSO and its data, please use our general Contact form.]
For Observers: Please read the requests for observations in full, and use your own best judgment as to whether your equipment and abilities are well-matched to the specific project. When in doubt please contact AAVSO HQ for guidance and recommendations. If you are an instrumental observer, we strongly recommend that you calibrate your data and transform all photometry to a standard system! For some projects this will be required, but it is good practice in general.
Please visit our observer resources page to find our Visual, CCD, and DSLR observing manuals, guides to photometry, and other tools to help you assess whether a campaign is a good match for you!
For Researchers: Any research effort requires focused and enthusiastic leadership, and the leader of the observing campaign should be you, the researcher. The more you interact with the observer community, the more likely it is that you will attract observers and obtain good data. Ideally, the AAVSO's role is to issue a call for observations, establish communications between you and the observers, and coordinate the collection of data; your role should be to motivate and encourage observers who participate in your work, analyze the data, and publish the results. Once a campaign has been established via an Alert Notice, the AAVSO online forum on Campaigns is the most direct way to reach the most observers [please contact the Campaign Coordinator for information]. Also, it is required that the work of observers be properly recognized; if any individual observers contribute data that are critically important to the research, we strongly encourage you to offer coauthorship to the observers on any resulting papers.
Please visit our Research portal to find more information about how the AAVSO and its observers can aid you in your research.