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By Thomas R. Williams
Based in 1911, the AAVSO boasts over 1200 participants and observers and is the world's greatest non-profit association devoted to variable celebrity commentary. This well timed booklet marks the AAVSO's centennial 12 months, providing an authoritative and actual historical past of this crucial organization. Writing in a fascinating and available variety, the authors stream chronologically via 5 eras of the AAVSO, discussing the evolution of its constitution and goal. in the course of 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 historical past of the 1st hundred years of the AAVSO, this article has extensive charm and should be of curiosity to novice astronomers, in addition to historians and sociologists of technological know-how normally.
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Additional info for Advancing Variable Star Astronomy: The Centennial History of the American Association of Variable Star Observers
Pickering praised Hagen’s charts, but justified another, wider field series of charts for observing these same stars when they were brighter than ninth magnitude: Observations of nearly equal value [as those made by experienced observers] can be obtained by those unaccustomed to estimating intervals in grades. 55 In 1903, HCO published a “provisional catalogue” listing 1227 variable stars. This was an outgrowth of a bibliographic card catalog begun at HCO by William M. Reed and continued by Annie J.
Chandler’s first catalog listed 225 variables; the second catalog, 260, and the third catalog (1896), 393 variables, a 42% increase from the first catalog. Given the number of variable stars being discovered at HCO and elsewhere, the small percentage of increases in the variables in Chandler’s catalogs is surprising. Yet, this appears to have been a point of pride for Chandler, who noted that the second catalog would have been much longer if announcements of “what might be regarded as reputable authority, had been admitted.
Bigelow, Professor of Astronomy, Smith College, October 4, 19111 William Tyler Olcott’s resignation as the leader of the Variable Star Section of the Society for Practical Astronomy in 1913 coincided with his efforts to form another variable star organization. 2 Its existence inadvertently demolished the SPA’s variable star section, whose members had left to join the AAVSO. Their migration may not have had anything to do with actions of the SPA’s teenaged founders. What can be said, however, is that they remained with Olcott and the AAVSO after a year or more in correspondence with Olcott and recognition that Olcott and his AAVSO were connected in some way to the Harvard College Observatory (HCO).