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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2011

19 - Managing with renewed confidence



The observers are the heart of AAVSO. It is the dedication, the tireless efforts, and the valuable contributions of our observers that give the AAVSO its high reputation in the astronomical community. In this 75th Anniversary year and always we salute our observers!

– Janet A. Mattei, 1987

After the exciting move to its new home at 25 Birch Street, the office routine at the American Association of Variable Star Observers returned to normal for most of the headquarters staff. But for Director Janet Mattei, the excitement didn't end with the building dedication.

Mattei had been working as an organizer for one session of International Astronomical Union (IAU) Colloquium 98 in June 1987 in Paris. The purpose of the Colloquium, The Contributions of Amateurs to Astronomy, was to present the many opportunities for amateurs to participate in the science of astronomy. Professional astronomers who worked on problems amenable to amateur participation were invited to present those opportunities, especially as examples of worthwhile work already underway.

In 1987, the year that included a return of Halley's Comet, there were many topics to discuss. The program included more than 120 papers covering observational methods and results, history, and popularization of astronomy. Among the astronomical topics were variable stars, supernovae, binary stars, the Sun, occultations by the Moon, asteroids, and comets – and of course Comet Halley. Techniques considered included visual, spectroscopic, photographic, and videographic means of capturing the observational data.

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