91st Spring Meeting of the AAVSO: Meeting Announcement

The 91st Spring Meeting of the AAVSO
The 2nd High-Energy Astrophysics Workshop
for Amateur Astronomers

June 30 - July 6, 2002
The Outrigger Hotel, Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii
Meeting Information
Paper Session Order
HEA Wkshp Schedule
Attendee List

We are delighted to invite our members, observers, and friends worldwide to join us for the very special, Pan-Pacific, 91st Spring Meeting of the American Association of Variable Star Observers and the 2nd High-Energy Astrophysics Workshop for Amateur Astronomers. Both events will be held on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii. If you have never been to Hawaii, this would be a wonderful opportunity to visit and see the sights. If you have been to Hawaii before, what a great reason to visit again! We hope that you and your families will be able to attend the AAVSO's first meeting to be held in Hawaii. It is sure to be a very special event.

We are very excited about the Pan-Pacific nature of this meeting. Its prime location will enable interested members and observers, not only from the US and Europe but also from countries such as Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, to attend both the 2nd HEA Workshop and the AAVSO Spring Meeting activities. Recognizing how important around-the-world coverage is for many astronomical projects, we are very excited to have this invaluable chance to collaborate with our Pacific-area colleagues.

Our host for this meeting is Prof. Karen Meech, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. Dr. Meech is a leading astronomer on comets, a former AAVSO technical assistant, and is the director of the Towards Other Planetary Systems (TOPS) Teacher Enhancement Workshop. Each year this workshop is held for teachers and students primarily from Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. Variable stars and the AAVSO's Hands-On Astrophysics are among the highlights of the TOPS curriculum. This year the TOPS workshop will immediately precede the AAVSO meeting. We are looking forward to welcoming the TOPS participants to the AAVSO Spring Meeting and HEA Workshop.

We would like to announce the second in our series of High-Energy Astrophysics Workshops for Amateur Astronomers, to take place in Hawaii July 4-5, 2002, with a welcome reception on the evening of July 3rd. Our first workshop was held in conjunction with the Spring 2000 Meeting of the AAVSO in Huntsville, Alabama. Attendees from all over the US and almost a dozen countries participated in 2 full days of scientific lectures and demonstrations. This workshop fully met the AAVSO's goals of disseminating information and generated such positive feedback that we were encouraged to establish a series of similar workshops to be held under the auspices of the AAVSO at regular intervals.

We are happy to announce that the AAVSO will once again be teaming up with NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center to organize this event. During the 2-day workshop we will focus on high-energy objects. Some amateur astronomers (including the AAVSO International GRB Network) are already playing an important role in high-energy multi-wavelength observing programs. This workshop will focus on expanding the knowledge base of those amateur scientists interested in contributing to this field so that they may gain a greater understanding of the science behind these programs. Topics will include Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), for which we will describe the current status of the field, current and future satellite programs, and how amateur astronomers have already contributed and can contribute in the future to GRB follow-up observations. Another topic will be Cataclysmic Variables (CVs), for which we will discuss both observations and current theory.

This workshop is being sponsored by NASA Headquarters, as well as several high-energy NASA missions. We have several grants available to help cover travel and accommodation expenses. The application form for an HEA Workshop Grant is included with this mailing and must be returned to us no later than March 15, 2002.


Luau: The sound of the conch shell beckons you to the Royal Luau. Witness the unearthing of the imu (underground oven), revealing the roast suckling pig that is a traditional component to the lavish luau buffet. Dine under the starlit Waikoloa sky and let a cast of 14 take you on a musical journey throughout the islands of Polynesia. What a way to kick off our weeklong meeting! We hope that you will join us Sunday night, June 30th, for a festive introduction to the rich, Hawaiian culture.

Membership Meeting: All attendees are invited to this gathering, which will be held from 9:00am to 12:00pm on Monday, July 1st. The purpose of this meeting is to inform attendees of the various activities of the Association. This session will include reports from the Secretary, Treasurer, Committee Chairpersons, and the Director.

Scientific Paper Session: Members and friends are invited to present papers on variable stars and related topics. Papers will be presented on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, July 1st and 2nd. Realizing that some results require more than 10 minutes for effective presentation, we will be flexible with the allocation of time for paper presentations. Time-slots will range from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on amount of time requested and the number of papers submitted. Those planning to present papers at this meeting should complete and return the enclosed abstract form no later than June 10, 2002. Authors with email access are encouraged to send the information requested on the abstract form electronically to: meetings@aavso.org. Each author will be contacted prior to the meeting regarding presentation order and the number of minutes allotted for his/her presentation.

Island Stargazing: On Monday evening, July 1st, we will hold a public stargazing session on the beaches of the Outrigger Hotel. Dr. Karen Meech of the University of Hawaii will kick off the evening will a public lecture titled, Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Hawaiian Astronomy. She and her team of teachers and students from the TOPS Workshop will also be making all of their workshop telescopes (over 10) available for observing.

Local Tour: Tuesday afternoon, July 2nd, we will head out to explore the northwestern section of the Big Island. Led by Hawaiian teacher and expert in local culture Alyce Ikeoka, we will get a lesson in Hawaii's rich cultural past and present as we visit ancient ceremonial sites, a historic palace, and Kona coffee and macadamia nut country. We will then visit the west coast where there will be some free time to explore the local shops and fine dining. After dinner we will return to the hotel.

Mauna Kea Tour: On the morning of July 3rd we will leave for the summit of Mauna Kea. We will travel up the massive mountain in 4-wheel drive, 12-passenger vehicles, stopping at various points along the way to see the sights and acclimate to the altitude - 14,000ft! We will stop at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, and then continue on to visit the sites of several of the large telescopes on the summit.

PLEASE NOTE: Those with respiratory or heart conditions, those who are severely overweight, pregnant women, and children under 16 are NOT permitted to go above the 9,200 ft. level where the Visitor Information Station is located. Also, one should not go to the summit within 24 hours of scuba diving.

HEA Workshop Reception: A reception will be held Wednesday evening, July 3rd, on the beautiful porch of the Outrigger Hotel to welcome all of the high-energy workshop attendees. We encourage everyone to attend this reception and get to know some of the other attendees as well as the workshop presenters. With participants from so many different organizations, the reception will be a wonderful opportunity to network with other astronomers!

July 4th Barbeque: We hope that you will join us for the Fourth of July Barbeque. Patriotism will abound, but don't expect the typical hot dogs and slaw! This will be a cookout with a Hawaiian twist. Join us for great fellowship and wonderful food! Also, don't miss the spectacular local fireworks display.

Closing Banquet and Guest Lecture: The Banquet will be held on the evening of Friday, July 5th. Preceded by a cash bar, the banquet menu includes a choice of Fresh Island Snapper with Capers in a Lemon Butter Wine Sauce or Breast of Chicken with Manila Prawns in Ginger Cilantro Sauce. We will also offer an additional vegetarian option. Following dinner an astronomer from the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy will present our guest lecture.

Tour of Volcanoes National Park: On Saturday morning, July 6th, we will leave for a tour of Volcanoes National Park. The Park displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution. The park encompasses 230,000 acres and ranges from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, offers scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes.

Sunset & Observing at Mauna Kea: Those who would like to observe Saturday night may continue on from the Volcanoes National Park tour to the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station (9,200 ft.) We will watch the sunset and get a chance to observe with the Visitor Information Station telescope. How often do you have the chance to note on your AAVSO observing report that "the following observations were made from Mauna Kea?" Anyone not wishing to observe will be returned to the hotel immediately after the tour of Volcanoes National Park.

We could not have picked a better location for this meeting. Hawaii's Big Island is famous as a magnet for the peoples of the world. Hawaii's culture embraces the best of East and West. Attendees will arrive to find a multi-ethnic, globally friendly population with a tradition that embraces tolerance, respect, and understanding.

Attendees will enjoy discovering the many museums, street fairs, and festivals, and exploring the vast array of dining and shopping options available. And of course, there are scores of fabulous beaches, water sports of every variety, and some of the world's most scenic championship golf courses to choose from.

And let's not forget the weather! In June and July you can expect temperatures ranging from 73 to 88 degrees (F) (23 to 30 C). Where else can you experience 11 of the Earth's 13 climactic regions? (There is no Arctic or Saharan representation.) If you want a little rain, head east to Hilo. If you want almost guaranteed sunshine and cool breezes, stay near the hotel. The western coast averages only 28 inches of rainfall annually while the eastern coast averages 128 inches each year - a full 100 inches more. All of this on a 76-mile by 93-mile island! This difference in rainfall helps to account for the very different landscapes that you will encounter as you travel around the island. As you arrive in Kona on the western coast you won't see the palm trees and rainforests that many associate with Hawaii. Those can be found on the eastern coast. Instead, raw black lava coats the low, broad terrain, beautiful in its own right! Of course, upon arrival at the hotel you will find that the property is an incredible oasis rising out of the dry terrain. There really is something for everyone on this beautiful island!

It is strongly recommended that you book your flight to arrive at Kona International Airport, which serves the island's western (Kona) coast. Most flights into Kona connect through Honolulu on the island of O'ahu. You may even want to stay in Honolulu a day or two either before or after the meeting. We suggest that you NOT fly into Hilo International Airport, which is located on the opposite coast of the Big Island. We will distribute information to all registrants on transportation options between the airport and the hotel.

All meeting activities will be held at the Waikoloa Beach Outrigger Hotel. The hotel's crescent white sand beach and spectacular ocean views combine with the hotel's meeting facilities, imaginative island cuisine, the pampering of the Hawaiian Rainforest Salon & Spa, 36 holes of championship golf, exquisite decor, and gracious service to help make everyone's stay thoroughly enjoyable.

For a closer look at Outrigger Waikoloa Beach, including a photo slide show, visit the hotel's web site at: http://www.outrigger.com/details/more_info/owb/index.asp

We have obtained a special group room rate of $160.00 (single or double.) This rate will be extendable up to 3 days before and 3 days after the meeting. The hotel will begin to release rooms in our block on April 30, 2002. It is STRONGLY suggested that you make your hotel arrangements before that date. You must make room reservations by May 30, 2002, to receive the group rate, but please keep in mind that after April 30th there will be very few rooms available in the AAVSO block.

Reservations can be made by phone, fax, mail, or email. The hotel has provided a form which you may mail or fax to them. You may also email or call the hotel directly. The contact information is included on the form and is also listed below.

Attention: Group Reservations
69-275 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Waikoloa, HI 96738-5711
Telephone: 1-800-922-5533 or 1-808-886-6789
Fax: 1-808-886-1554
Email: owb.reservations@outrigger.com

LOOKING FOR A ROOMMATE? Anyone interested in sharing a room during the meeting should complete the roommate section of the registration form. We will collect this information and then forward the list, including contact information, to everyone in need of a roommate. You will then be responsible for connecting with each other and making your own room reservations. We cannot guarantee that there will be a match for everyone, but this could be a useful way to help cut meeting costs.