Silicon and Glass

Everyone’s familiar with the term ‘bricks and mortar’. Many donors prefer to give to specific projects or programs that result in well-defined, tangible goods, such as the new wing of a building, a playground, or furniture and athletic equipment for a recreation center.

In the case of AAVSOnet, that could be a telescope, camera, filters, computers or software. Since there are seldom bricks or mortar involved in these kinds of gifts, I prefer to call them ‘silicon and glass’ donations. AAVSOnet has been funded almost exclusively by the generosity of our member donors, and we have a new set of needs that can be addressed by making ‘silicon and glass’ donations.

The workhorse component of AAVSOnet, Sonoita Research Observatory (SRO), requires some maintenance and repairs. The observatory’s Paramount has been running reliably for ten years straight. That is an impressive track record, but nothing lasts forever. The mount is now in Software Bisque’s repair facility, being restored to its former glory. There is a price for that repair, and the AAVSO’s portion of the bill is $1500.00.

Bright Star Monitor (BSM) Berry has been removed from on top of headquarters and shipped to western Australia to be commissioned there. We would like to upgrade the camera on the new BSM HQ telescope to match the other BSM systems. The SBIG ST series of CCDs is no longer being manufactured, but Arne was able to find a ST-10XME with a 10-position filter wheel and filters for sale by a local amateur. The cost of this upgrade has been negotiated down to $1950.00.

BSM South’s camera recently required factory service to fix the frozen shutter. The cost of the repairs and shipping came to $400.00. Four ‘silicon and glass’ donations of $100 each would pay the bill.

If you would like to contribute to the AAVSO robotic telescope network’s continued success, please mail a check, call headquarters with your credit card information, or use our online donation form at Simply enter the amount of your ‘silicon and glass’ donation, and select AAVSOnet Fund from the drop down menu.

Another worthwhile and important ‘silicon and glass’ project is the purchase of 10, 1-terabyte, USB hard drives, to act as Time Machine back-up drives for AAVSO staff workstations. We can purchase them from Costco at $70.00 each, so we need $700.00 total to move forward on this plan. Ten donors making a $70 donation would pay for all the USB back-up drives. You can donate by check, credit card or our online donation form. Simply let us know you wish to pay for back-up drives, specifically, by putting a note in your letter, on your check, or filling out the comments section of the web form.

To find out more about AAVSOnet, the AAVSO’s robotic telescope network see:

To learn about all the important AAVSO funds you can support, see:

To make a donation online, see:

Mail donations to: AAVSO, 49 Bay State Rd., Cambridge, MA 02138 – or call 617-354-0484.

Thank you all for your continued support of the AAVSO, its programs and operations.