Looking for Student Research Projects in Astronomy?
Since 1911, the nonprofit American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) has been enabling “citizen astronomers” to contribute to astronomical research by making systematic, sustained measurements of the changing brightness of variable stars. More than 33,000,000 measurements are freely available in the AAVSO International Database (AID) for professional and amateur astronomers and students. These data have contributed to thousands of research papers. The AAVSO website also provides a gold mine of information and resources on variable stars, including software that astronomers and students can use to analyze their data.
Two decades ago, the AAVSO recognized the educational potential of variable-star observing and analysis and created Hands-On Astrophysics (HOA), with National Science Foundation support. HOA evolved into an online resource, Variable Star Astronomy. It enables students to develop and integrate their science and math skills by doing real research, with real data. The AAVSO also offers other educational resources, including a list of suggestions for student projects.
Now the AAVSO is reaching out to instructors and students eager to carry out and publish astronomical research using AAVSO data and software. The Journal of the AAVSO (JAAVSO), founded in 1972 and professionally edited and produced, is a refereed journal that publishes high-quality student research as well as other research on variable stars and related topics. If you are a high school or college astronomy instructor with an interest in astronomy and with students looking for research projects, we would like to help you. We would also like to hear from you; you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We value your interest, feedback, and suggestions as we again commit to supporting student research on variable stars. We will continue to keep you informed of the resources available for student research projects and the opportunities to publish them.