AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 10. Professional-Amateur Observational Programs
Display, Monday, June 5, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Empire Hall South

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[10.02] Amateur-Professional Collaborations in the AAVSO

G. Hawkins (American Association of Variable Star Observers), J.A. Mattei, E.O. Waagen (AAVSO)

The AAVSO coordinates, collects, evaluates, and archives variable star observations made largely by amateur astronomers around the world, and publishes and disseminates these observations to researchers and educators worldwide. Its electronic database of nearly 10 million visual variable star observations contributed by 6,000 amateur astronomers in over 40 countries since 1911 is the world's largest and longest-running.

The AAVSO has a long history of collaborations between its amateur astronomer observers and professional astronomers. Many of the over 275 requests received yearly from astronomers for AAVSO data and services result in collaborative projects - particularly in multiwavelength observations of variable stars using ground-based telescopes and/or satellites - to help schedule observing runs; provide sumultaneous optical coverage of observing targets and immediate notification of their activity during particular satellite observations; correlate multiwavelength data; and analyze long-term variable star behavior.

Among the more dramatic collaborations AAVSO observers have participated in are numerous multi-satellite observing runs on specific variable stars triggered in response to real-time alerts to stellar activity from AAVSO observers; and the variable star observations made during the Astro-2 mission, in which real-time observations by AAVSO observers directed shuttle astronauts to observing targets, and resulted in seminal new information about the cataclysmic variable Z Camelopardalis.

The AAVSO is embarking on an exciting new collaboration with Gamma-Ray astronomers at NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. The AAVSO and the MSFC Gamma-Ray Burst Team have established a Gamma-Ray Burst Network, in which participating AAVSO observers will be alerted immediately via pagers and email to the detection of gamma-ray bursts and will use their own CCD-equipped telescopes to search for the optical counterpart. We gratefully acknowledge partial funding of this network by NASA.

Contact the AAVSO at aavso@aavso.org or http://www.aavso.org.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: aavso@aavso.org

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