AAVSO Star Assignment


Your asignment for this part of the course is to learn a bit about the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers). The purpose of this project is to give you an opportunity to explore an area of Astronomy where amateurs like you and myself can make significant contributions to this science, and do so from your backyard with a simple telescope and a few charts.

If you do not think that is me, way in that back row, then go to enlargement for your proof :)

The purpose of this exercise is to introduce you to one of the real areas in all of science where amateurs can make significant contributions. The study of variable stars is of tremendous interest for the patterns of brightening and dimming hold many of the clues to the evolution of stars. On any night, you could go outside with a simple telescope and star chart and measure the apparent magnitude of a variable star. The AAVSO is an organization that takes the observations of its membership worldwide and incorporates the data into light curves that the professionals can later interpret. Without the observations of the amateurs, the professionals would not be able to unlock the secrets of star death. For this reason, you have been brought here to learn a little more about the AAVSO and things that you could do.

Your Name:

E-mail Address (Required):

Please go to the AAVSO website. Once you arrive there, go to the Latest News, or else into the Archive where you will find "Spring Meeting Highlights." If you have trouble getting there the old-fashioned way (entering the site and looking for it), then perhaps this link will suffice (Spring Meeting). First, look at the group photo and try to find where I am standing. I admit that this is a difficult task, but my face is visible, but only from the mustache up. Then look for the photo gallery picture of the director's award and tell me who received the honor from Janet Mattei.

Now that this fun stuff is over, go to:

1. "About the AAVSO."

2. "Variable Star Telescope Simulator" ... and click on the big star

3. Who owns the telescope featured in slide 2. (I snorkled with him and his wife during the Spring 2002 Conference in Hawaii).

4. What is meant by the term "photometric?"

5. What is "Interpolation?"

6. What is your estimate of the brightness of the variable star in the practice sheet?

7. Describe with words the artist rendition of SS Cygni

8. What is your estimate of the brightness of W Cygni in the first set of images?

9. What is your estimate of the brightness of W Cygni in the image taken 82 days later?

10. What is the "Variable Star of the Month?"



Remember, you need to click the submit button, or all of this work is in vain. Now go to the Syllabus .

| Home | Course Information | Assignments | Teacher Bio | Course Units | Syllabus | Links |