Advancing Variable Star Astronomy: The Centennial History of by Thomas R. Williams

By Thomas R. Williams

Based in 1911, the AAVSO boasts over 1200 individuals and observers and is the world's greatest non-profit association devoted to variable famous person commentary. This well timed booklet marks the AAVSO's centennial 12 months, featuring an authoritative and exact heritage of this crucial organization. Writing in an interesting and obtainable variety, the authors circulate chronologically via 5 eras of the AAVSO, discussing the evolution of its constitution and function. through the textual content, the focus is at the millions of people whose contributions have made the AAVSO's growth attainable. Describing a century of interplay among novice astronomers, the authors have fun the collaborative relationships that experience existed through the years. because the definitive historical past of the 1st hundred years of the AAVSO, this article has extensive charm and should be of curiosity to beginner astronomers, in addition to historians and sociologists of technology quite often.

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Extra info for Advancing Variable Star Astronomy: The Centennial History of the American Association of Variable Star Observers

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8 The Olcott brothers quickly re-established their business by setting up three coal distribution yards around the central business district. Olivia Olcott’s pregnancy paralleled the rebirth of the business, and in early 1873, William Tyler Olcott joined the Olcott family. 9 Afterwards, William Olcott worked as a solicitor for a while before starting a new coal distribution company, this time known as “Wm. ” Fortunately, the Olcott coal company achieved a stability not enjoyed in the 1870s as the Chicago economy prospered with the addition of more railroads, stockyards, manufacturing plants, and other businesses.

27 His “untechnical” publication soon attracted amateur astronomers like Paul S. 29 Although aimed at an amateur audience, his articles contained considerable detail, such as the positions of 18 short-period variables, elements of variation, a finder chart, a table of comparison stars and light steps, and a table of mean values from his own reduced observations. Yendell also provided a brief observing history for each star from its discovery to its most recent observations. He followed with many Popular Astronomy articles on variable star astronomy.

From this point on, announcements of variable star discoveries occurred with monotonous regularity in the pages of the Harvard Circulars. Between January 1906 and July 1908, about 388 variable stars were discovered at HCO – an average of about 20 new variables per month. This seemingly endless proliferation of discoveries led Pickering to emphasize a paradigm shift in how and why variable stars needed to be discovered and observed. 59 One consequence of this shift in emphasis, Pickering noted, was that the age of the independent variable star observer was finished: “While we recognize the eminent service which has been rendered during the last century by visual observers, it is certain that photographic methods now yield vastly greater results for a given expenditure of time.

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