AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 12. Amateur-Professional Collaboration in Astronomy
Special Session Oral, Monday, June 5, 2000, 10:00-11:30am, Highland A/K

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[12.05] Partnership in Variable Star Research from Ground and Space

J. A. Mattei, G. A. Hanson (American Assocation of Varaible Star Observers)

Variable star observers have a unique position in astronomy. When the facilities of an organizing body like the American Association of Variable Star Observer (AAVSO) and observing programs with telescopes at professional observatories or aboard satellites are combined, the resulting partnership encompasses every aspect of astronomical research from theoretical research to active satellite programs. Since its founding in 1911, the AAVSO has routinely filled hundreds of requests each year from researchers for variable star data from the AAVSO International Database, now containing close to 10 million observations.

With the present feasibility of observing variable stars from gamma-ray to radio wavelengths, optical observations by amateur astronomers are recognized to be vitally important in obtaining multiwavelength data at specific times of variation, and in testing theoretical models. By carefully monitoring variable star activity through a network of variable star observers worldwide, researchers have been able to analyze their data meaningfully and have made best use of satellite observing time. Ground-base variable star observers, through the AAVSO, have collaborated with researchers in observing programs aboard such satellites as: HEAO-1 and 2, IUE, Voyager, ASTRO-1 and 2, ROSAT, HIPPARCOS, ASCA, ORFEUS, HST, EUVE, RXTE, and FUSE. We will discuss a few of these successful collaborations, and share the experience of a variable star observer whose observations of the November 1997 outburst of the cataclysmic variable U Geminorum triggered Target-Of-Opportunity observations with the EUVE and RXTE satellites.

We gratefully acknowledge NASA grants to the AAVSO that made some of collaborations possible.

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