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

7 - The Pickering Memorial Endowment

from PART III - RECORDING AND CLASSIFICATION – THE LEON CAMPBELL ERA

Summary

The members of the Association and the many friends and colleagues of Professor Pickering have reason to be proud of their achievement. It is not only a fitting memorial to a distinguished astronomer, but it affords a greater opportunity of extending our knowledge of Variable Stars.

– William Tyler Olcott, 1931

The American Association of Variable Star Observers grew in membership during the 1920s and added substantially to its archive of variable star observations and, in addition, initiated several projects not related to variable stars, such as telescopic meteors and lunar occultation timings. By the end of the decade, the AAVSO had acquired a good reputation for its service to the science of variable star astronomy, though primarily in the narrow, and not particularly exciting, area of long-period variable stars.

In parallel with AAVSO activity that might be considered normal, however, were a series of events taking place around the AAVSO that held out both promise and peril for the still maturing Association. This chapter discusses how the young new Harvard College Observatory Director Harlow Shapley actively involved the AAVSO in HCO's affairs while attempting to rebuild the aging though justly famed observatory and its staff.

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