By Thomas R. Williams
Based in 1911, the AAVSO boasts over 1200 individuals and observers and is the world's greatest non-profit association devoted to variable superstar commentary. This well timed ebook marks the AAVSO's centennial yr, providing an authoritative and exact background of this significant organization. Writing in an attractive and obtainable sort, the authors movement chronologically via 5 eras of the AAVSO, discussing the evolution of its constitution and goal. through the textual content, the main target is at the millions of people whose contributions have made the AAVSO's development attainable. Describing a century of interplay among novice astronomers, the authors have a good time the collaborative relationships that experience existed through the years. because the definitive heritage of the 1st hundred years of the AAVSO, this article has huge charm and may be of curiosity to beginner astronomers, in addition to historians and sociologists of technology mostly.
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Extra info for Advancing Variable Star Astronomy: The Centennial History of the American Association of Variable Star Observers
Among the observers themselves, some were paid observatory staff; others were volunteers who contributed observations at the specific request of an observatory following that observatory’s guidelines; still others preferred to keep working as unaffiliated, independent observers and reporting their observations in published journals. 21 In the case of individual observers, their observations, period determinations, and ephemerides, if published at all, were published mainly as single notes or as letters in AN, AJ, The Observatory, MNRAS, and similar journals.
4, 1922, p. 197). behavior of each star. From this point on, announcements of variable star discoveries occurred with monotonous regularity in the pages of the Harvard Circulars. Between January 1906 and July 1908, about 388 variable stars were discovered at HCO – an average of about 20 new variables per month. This seemingly endless proliferation of discoveries led Pickering to emphasize a paradigm shift in how and why variable stars needed to be discovered and observed. 59 One consequence of this shift in emphasis, Pickering noted, was that the age of the independent variable star observer was finished: “While we recognize the eminent service which has been rendered during the last century by visual observers, it is certain that photographic methods now yield vastly greater results for a given expenditure of time.
Caroline E. Furness, of Vassar College, one of E. C. Pickering’s Corps of Observers and one of the AAVSO’s founding members. In 1915, Furness published An Introduction to the Study of Variable Stars. others were Helen Swartz, Ida Whiteside, and Psyche R. Sutton. 62 Observations in the thousands were added by HCO newcomers Henrietta Leavitt, who joined the staff in 1895 (1800 variables in the Magellanic Clouds by 1908); Leon Campbell, who joined in 1899; and other HCO staff astronomers, especially O.
Advancing Variable Star Astronomy: The Centennial History of the American Association of Variable Star Observers by Thomas R. Williams