Arne Henden Named Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers

Press Release From: American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Posted: Friday, January 28, 2005

The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Arne Henden as Director, effective March 1, 2005.

Henden is a Senior Research Scientist for the Universities Space Research Association at the United States Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. His primary research interests are in optical and near infrared imaging, variable stars, gamma ray burst afterglows and professional-amateur collaboration.

"With his extensive experience working with amateurs and his professional reputation as one of the world's premier photometrists, Henden is a perfect fit as the new leader of the AAVSO," said Bill Dillon, President of the AAVSO.

Headquartered in the Clinton B. Ford Astronomical Data and Research Center in Cambridge, Mass., The AAVSO is an international non-profit, scientific organization headquartered is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with members in 46 countries. It coordinates, compiles, digitizes, and disseminates observations of variable stars to researchers, educators, and students worldwide. It was founded in 1911 at the Harvard College Observatory and became independent in 1955.

The AAVSO's relationship with Henden began in 1997 when he provided photometry for variable star charts. Soon after, he became chief adviser to the AAVSO International High Energy Network. Since then his association with the organization has grown to include advisory roles for the AAVSO Eclipsing Binary and RR Lyrae committees, three High Energy Astrophysics Workshops for Amateur Astronomers, the AAVSO Chart Team and also its publication CCD Views.

Henden has a long association with mentoring amateur astronomers. He is a founding member of the International Amateur-Professional Photoelectric Photometry (IAPPP) group, a scientific adviser for the Society of Astronomical Sciences (SAS), and has worked with Telescopes in Education (TIE) and the Radio Astronomy Institute, a non-profit organization with a strong commitment toward education.

As a scientist, Henden has been a co-author on over a hundred refereed publications, including 3 papers in the journal Nature. He has several papers in progress, mostly related to gamma-ray burst afterglow observations with various worldwide collaborations, or cataclysmic variables for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In collaboration with Dr. R. H. Kaitchuck, he wrote the textbook Astronomical Photometry, widely regarded as a fundamental text for learning photometry.

Henden received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from Indiana Universiity in 1985. He began his post-Ph.D. career as a Research Associate at The Ohio State University upon graduation. In 1993 he took on his current position with the Universities Space Research Association. Henden is a referee for many astronomical journals and is an invited proposal reviewer for many organizations, including the National Science Foundation.

Henden succeeds Dr. Janet A. Mattei, who had been AAVSO Director from 1973 until her death on March 22, 2004 from acute myelogenous leukemia. Her legacy will live on at the AAVSO through the Janet A. Mattei Research Fellowship program.

More biographical information and media ready photographs are available at

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