99th Fall Meeting of the AAVSO

Hilton Hotel

Woburn, Massachusetts
Oct. 28-30, 2010

Original Announcement:
We are very happy to invite our members, observers, and friends to metro-Boston, MA for the 99th Annual Meeting of the AAVSO.  The meeting will take place at the Woburn Hilton, October 28-30, 2010. The AAVSO annual meeting gives both newcomers and longtime attendees the opportunity to share ideas, experiences, and tips on variable star observing. Attending the AAVSO annual meeting is an excellent way to stay informed about the many activities and accomplishments of the Association.

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit New England.  Boston is a city filled with many interesting museums and attractions. Bring your families and stay a few extra days to enjoy the sights! We have secured excellent hotel rates for this area at this time of year. Whether you have attended dozens of AAVSO meetings or are a first-time attendee, we hope to see you in Woburn for the 99th Annual Meeting of the AAVSO. It is sure to be an interesting and exciting weekend!

VStar Workshop: VStar is a multi-platform, easy-to-use variable star data visualization and analysis tool that was developed as part of the Citizen Sky project. Data for a star can be read from the AAVSO database or from a text file of your own creation. VStar will plot the data on a light curve then you can choose to superimpose means data and error bars if you like. VStar can also create phase plots and perform basic period search functions, all of which make it a valuable tool for data analysis. This workshop on using VStar will be led by AAVSO Staff member, Sara Beck, and VStar Developer, David Benn.

Special Session on roadmapping the future of the AAVSO: This session will be more social/interactive than our typical Friday afternoon sessions.  We will present updates on emerging technologies that are expected to affect VSO and the AAVSO in the not-so-distant future.  We will break out into several teams to brainstorm about what the goals and achievements of the AAVSO might be in the coming years. Each breakout team will share their ideas with the whole group - this session should be both fun and informative.

AAVSO HQ Open House and Dinner Buffet: All attendees are invited to attend an open house and buffet dinner at AAVSO Headquarters on Friday night, October 29th. Staff members will be present to answer any questions. If you haven’t had a chance to visit the new Headquarters building in the last few years, make a point to join us and see all of the new space we have!

Membership Meeting: All attendees are invited to this gathering, which will be held Saturday morning, October 30th. The purpose of this meeting is to inform attendees of the activities of the Association. The Director’s Report will be included. We will also announce AAVSO Council election results.

Saturday Morning Invited Talk: We are thrilled to have Dr. Timothy F. Slater joining us from The Center for Astronomy & Physics Education Research (CAPER) at the University of Wyoming to present a talk titled: “What’s a Light Curve?  Unexpected Reasoning Difficulties When Interpreting Graphs.” Brief Abstract: The creation and interpretation of brightness versus time light curves serves a critical role in variable astronomy studies. Although light curves seem elementary to most AAVSO members, recent research results reveals that novices have considerable difficulty using graphs. This talk highlights the surprising cognitive challenges novices encounter in using light curves and describes strategies available to improve understanding.

Scientific Paper Session: Members and friends are invited to present papers on variable stars and related topics. Papers will be presented Saturday afternoon, October 30th. Timeslots will range from 10 to 20 minutes.  Those planning to present papers at this meeting should complete the online abstract form or call the AAVSO for a form to be submitted no later than October 15th, 2010.  We also encourage authors to submit poster papers.

Annual Banquet, Award Presentation, and Invited Speaker: The Annual Banquet will be held at the Woburn Hilton on the evening of Saturday, October 30th. The banquet will be preceded by a cash bar and followed by an award presentation.  The evening will culminate in an invited talk by  Dr. Stephanie J. Slater from the Center for Astronomy & Physics Education Research (CAPER) at the University of Wyoming. Her talk is titled: “Amateurs Matter:  Women’s Pathways to Professional Astronomy.” Brief Abstract: Considerable rhetoric and folk stories exist about what influences education and career pathways for professional astronomers. But, what really matters? This talk will describe recent research on most important influences of 50 talented females who pursued professional astronomy careers.

Accommodations: Sleeping rooms have been reserved at the Woburn Hilton for AAVSO meeting attendees at a special group rate of $92 plus tax. Please make your reservations by calling the hotel at 781-932-0999 before October 6th, 2010.  Be sure to mention that you will be participating in the AAVSO meeting when making room reservations. (Address is: 2 Forbes Road, Woburn, MA 01801.)


- The hotel has free shuttle service within a 5-mile radius of the property.  A shopping mall, many restaurants, and bus service to/from the airport are all located well within 5 miles.  A subway stop, which provides service into downtown Boston for sightseeing, is also located within the 5-mile radius.

- For those driving or renting cars - there is plenty of free onsite parking!

- Transportation will be provided between the Woburn Hilton and AAVSO Headquarters for the Friday night open house. All other meeting events will be held at the hotel.

- From the airport:

Taxi: Travel from airport to the Woburn Hilton will be about $60.

Logan Express Bus: Runs every hour to half hour depending on the day of week. Direct to airport, no other stops. N reservations required. Fare is $12 one-way & $22 round trip. This bus picks up at all airport terminals and drops off less than 10-minutes from the Hilton at the Anderson Regional Transportation Center.  You can take the free hotel shuttle or a taxi from there.

We hope to see you at the meeting!

Since the meeting dates are so quickly approaching we ask that you contact Rebecca to inquire about registering for the meeting.


Dates to remember:

  • 10/6/10 - Hotel reservation deadline
  • 10/15/10 - Early registration & abstract submission deadline