Instrumentation and Equipment

AAVSO Instrumentation and Equipment Section

Leader: Richard Berry (BYY)   contact

Resource Persons: Bob Massey, Arne Henden, Gary Walker, and George Silvis


Interested in joining this section? Click here for instructions.

Watch the Instrumentation and Equipment Section webinars:


Welcome to the newest AAVSO Section. This section operates in coordination with the Forum of the same name. Working astronomers both amateur and professional recognize that the science of astronomy depends intimately on the instruments (photometers, spectroscopes, etc.) and equipment (telescopes, mounts, and gadgetry) that we use in observing the heavens. And although we all depend on these things, until now there has been no central locus for talking about them. The section will be devoted to learning about, using, and inventing both instruments and equipment. Our "charge" includes CCDs, CCD cameras, CMOS, telescopes, mounts, computer controls, observatories, observatory systems, software, accessories, and whatever else we may dream up.

We will have three areas of operation:

  1. Advice on best materials or practices in established areas, such as "Making and Using Flat Frames" or “Selecting Gain in CMOS Cameras.” Links to topics will be in the top blue box to the right. Links in this box take you to curated short documents, videos, and/or other instructional media.
  2. A growing collection of project write-ups that are "completed" and written up as "How to Build a Weather Monitor," or "An Inexpensive Roll-Off Observatory." Links in the second blue box to the right will take you to these project reports.
  3. Lastly, we will serve as a platform in on-going "Astro-Maker" areas such as printed spectroscopes, building a spectrum-balanced flat-box, and/or software. As a project matures and reaches completion, it will be archived in #2. Currently the participants in Astro-Maker are Alan and Aaron Sliski, Gary Walker, Arne Henden, George Silvis, Helmar Adler, Barnett Helzberg, and James Synge. Alan Sliski is driving the hardware side of the projects, while George Silvis is working to create ASCOM/Alpaca interfaces to these devices. Note that the Astro-Maker public repositories are now active but some are still "in progress".

Over the years, many topics have been covered in various Forum threads. For an index of topics from previous posting and threads in the Forum, click here.