AAVSO Vision

Discovering the Universe through variable stars

The AAVSO's Mission

The AAVSO is an international non-profit organization of variable star observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy. We accomplish our mission by carrying out the following activities:

  • observation and analysis of variable stars
  • collecting and archiving observations for worldwide access
  • forging strong collaborations between amateur and professional astronomers
  • promoting scientific research, education, and public outreach using variable star data.

The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) is a non-profit worldwide scientific and educational organization of amateur and professional astronomers who are interested in stars that change in brightness—variable stars. Our bylaws can be found here.

The AAVSO was founded in 1911 to coordinate variable star observations—made largely by amateur astronomers—for Harvard College Observatory. The AAVSO was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1918 as a non-profit scientific and educational organization. Today, as an independent, private research organization headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with active participants in more than 100 countries, and an archive of over 34 million variable star observations, it is the world’s largest association of variable star observers.

Membership in the AAVSO is open to anyone—professionals, amateurs, and educators alike—interested in variable stars and in contributing to the support of valuable research.

Professional astronomers have neither the time nor the telescopes needed to gather data on the brightness changes of thousands of variables, and amateurs make a real and useful contribution to science by observing variable stars and submitting their observations to the AAVSO International Database.