AAVSO calls for donation

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AAVSO calls for donation

文章 PTS » 週三 03 5月, 2017 06:13

From the desk of
Stella Kafka, Director
American Association of Variable Star Observers

Dear Mr. Taksun Poon,

I am writing to ask for your financial help to support the AAVSO’s future. Our mission—our common goal—as amateur astronomers, as professional astronomers, as the “citizen astronomers” of the AAVSO, is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy. Your membership has made a difference. And going forward, your donation will make a difference.

Today, in science funding, times have changed. In the past, the AAVSO has undertaken visionary programs supported by research grant funding. The APASS program, for example, covered the sky with reliable multi-band comparison stars down to 14th magnitude. But such programs come to an end. And today we face challenging times: funding sources that were once easy to tap have dried up or disappeared. Competition for what funding remains is tougher than ever before. The AAVSO can no longer rely on outside grants as we have in the past.

At the same time, the world is entering an age of “citizen science.” Citizen scientists have undertaken all kinds of interesting projects, from counting crows to tracking the date of budding of backyard trees; from identifying galaxies to helping classify scanned images of old journal articles. Through the power of the Internet, people everywhere now participate in science. And you, as a member the AAVSO, belong to one of the oldest and most consequential citizen science organizations in the world.

In its century-long existence, AAVSO “citizen astronomers” have compiled over 33 million observations in the AAVSO International Variable Star Database. Through our meetings, online forums, manuals, CHOICE courses, informational material, software tools, the AAVSO has transformed our mission into reality. More people than ever before are estimating, measuring, and reporting observations of variable stars. For the AAVSO, the timing could not be better, as astronomers are now placing more emphasis on time-domain astronomy than ever before.

To support the AAVSO’s goals and continuing work, we need your donations. I want the AAVSO of the future to reach beyond just citizen science to foster Citizen Astronomers. Today the AAVSO offers training and mentorship, provides data analysis tools, publishes a research journal, and encourages our members and our observers to become engaged in the science they help facilitate. And that is why I am writing to you today. We need your help now more than ever before.

The AAVSO Council, in coordination with our Treasurer and myself, have reluctantly approved significant reductions to our budget. As your Director, I am actively seeking to hold down expenses while seeking new ways to bring in revenue. Although we are in a period of transition, we are pledged to never pull back from focusing on our core mission.

As a member, you are already paying annual dues of $75. We are reluctant to increase our dues because we want to encourage as many observers to join the ranks of variable star observers as possible. Furthermore, over the years, we know that voluntary donations to the AAVSO bring in considerably more dollars than we receive in dues. Your help, given through your donation, is vital right now. Your donation to the AAVSO General Fund is critical to balancing the budget and making ends meet.

Please take a few moments to consider making a substantial donation. Your donation will support the AAVSO at our current level and will help us to grow and offer more and better services to our members.

As your Director, on behalf of the Council, and for our members and observers, let us all work together to find our way forward in this interesting time. I am asking for your support in our effort to generate and support Citizen Astronomy. Please donate today at whatever level you can afford.

If you are interested in including the AAVSO in your estate planning, or wish to make a donation of appreciated stock or other assets, do not hesitate to contact Kevin Marvel, fundraising coordinator, directly (kmarvel@mac.com). We accept most kinds of donations, some of which may offer you significant tax benefits.

From one Citizen Astronomer to another, your help makes all the difference. Please help AAVSO today so we can share a bright future tomorrow. Thanks so much for your support.

Stella Signature
American Association of Variable Star Observers

P.S. Every donor who provides $250 or more will receive a special Citizen Astronomer Promoter baseball cap (a cap for a C.A.P. !), funded by a donation from myself to enable this recognition item. Join the C.A.P. club and get your cap today!

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