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Motivated by the UNESCO’s initiative to announce 2015 as the International Year of Light, the AAVSO is celebrating more than a century of commitment to collecting photons in order to study the variable sky. As part of that celebration, a set of activities has been announced, engaging everyone interested in astronomy to share their favorite story, research project, pretty picture, observing experience, or art work. We invite you to join us and share with us your passion for observing the night sky.

The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) is a non-profit international organization supporting collaborations between professional and non-professional astronomers working collegially on research projects at the forefront of scientific discovery. For more than a century now, photons collected by observers worldwide have been enriching a database (AAVSO International Database; AID) of about half a million objects; objects that showcase all kinds of variability in optical wavelengths. Variables populating the database include Eclipsing binaries, Pulsating stars, Cataclysmic Variables, and Exoplanets transiting their host star. Active Galactic Nuclei, Young Stellar Objects, and Gamma Ray Burst optical counterparts are some of the most exotic flavors of objects hosted in the database.

We invite you to join us and share with us your passion for observing the night sky. We particularly welcome submissions from students and educators from New Zealand, as the unsurpassed beauty and richness of the Southern night sky is undoubtedly a constant source of inspiration. All projects will be displayed on dedicated AAVSO web pages and will be showcased at the AAVSO Annual meeting (Boston MA, November 2015). Participation in the meeting is not required.

More information on specific activities may be found here. For submissions and inquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are looking forward to receiving your contributions!

Dr. Styliani (Stella) Kafka is the current Director of the AAVSO. Her research interests include investigating multiple aspects of variability and magnetic activity in binary systems and studying Type-Ia supernova progenitors, utilizing multi-wavelength short- and long-term photometric and spectroscopic data. She teaches physics and astronomy and serves as mentor for undergraduate and graduate students. At the American Institute of Physics she is responsible for most aspects of the AIP journals, including defining editorial direction, developing marketing strategies, and evaluating business plans for their future development. She also serves as liaison to the scientific community for the journals.

Latest News

As real as it gets - Flying above Mars

mars flyover JF

Finnish filmmaker Jan Fröjdman transformes imagery from HiRISE, a camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, into a dynamic overhead view of the Red Planet.

Watch it here.


Great Overview New Horizons mission

alan stern copyMeet Dr. Alan Stern, the Principle Investigator and learn about NASA’s historic mission to Pluto and beyond. Live stream on 13 February 2017 (can be watched again) here.

Introduction to Astronomy restarts

IntroAstro copy

Highly recommended Ronen Plesser’s free course Introduction to Astronomy will now be offered at Duke University on their new platform Duke Extend. The new session of Introduction to Astronomy starts November 28, and you can learn more and register here.

This ten week course progresses outward from our own Earth into Solar system, Galaxy and Deep Space, to cover essentially everything in the Universe. Watch Ronen's introduction on YouTube here.

Visit Rosetta’s comet in amazing 3D.

Rosetta 3D copy

Rosetta spacecraft has impacted on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, ending its very successful mission. You can view the comet in this amazing interactive 3D visualisation here.
Find a description of the tool here.

Are we heading for a new Maunder Minimum?

2016 09 01 1472723838 9260456 Solar Cycle Prediction

Original image here.

We are coming out of the current sunspot cycle 24 which will end around 2019. The maximum of this cycle has yet again been well below that of the previous two cycles.

“Some studies show that sunspot magnetic field strengths […] are already close to the minimum needed to sustain sunspots on the solar surface”.

Read Dr. Sten Odenwald’s Blog here.

ESO Astronomy Camp

ann16031aStudents aged between 16 and 18 years old, can apply for participation in the 4th ESO Astronomy Camp. The camp will take place from 26 December 2016 to 1 January 2017 in Italy and it is organised by ESO and its Science Outreach Network, together with the science education event organiser Sterrenlab and OAVdA.

Click the link 4th ESO Astronomy for detailed information.

Teachers invited to join the STEAM Team

STEAMThe Planetary Society is developing a youth education program with the goal to help teachers educate and engage students around the world in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and the Arts.

The STEAM Team is an advisory network of educators from around the world who will help to create the most effective education program possible. We want to bring your educational expertise to bear on a widespread program to enhance STEAM education around the world.

By joining this team, you will become part of a global advisory council of educators. We will reach out to you for feedback on the educational resources we develop, and on the direction of our youth education program as a whole. We’ll send you surveys, questions, and opportunities to share your ideas.

Read more here

What happens at the edge of the Universe?

EdgeoftheUniversePBSWhat is at the edge of the Universe and what happens if we are trying to get there.
In this episode in the Space Time series by PBS Matt tries to answer this question in a scientific way.
Watch it here.

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