Q- Is this survey an AAVSO initiative, or will other organizations be involved?
A- The AAVSO will be the primary organizers of the survey, and will host some of the meetings, but we hope to have participation from astronomical organizations around the world, both professional and amateur. Below is a partial list of the organizations we have contacted thus far.
American Association of Variable Star Observers
American Astronomical Society
American Meteor Society
Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Center for Backyard Astrophysics
National Academies Space Studies Board
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
The Planetary Society
Space Telescope Science Institute
Astronomical Society of Australia
Astronomical Society of South Australia
Astronomical Society of Southern Africa
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy
British Astronomical Association
Confederation of Indian Amateur Astronomers
Euro-Asian Astronomical Society
European Astronomical Society
European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere
International Astronomical Union
International Dark Sky Association
International Occultation Timing Organization
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand
South African Astronomical Observatory
Variable Star Observer League of Japan
Q- Is this survey mostly about variable stars, or will it include other branches of astronomy?
A- Variable stars will only be part of the stellar astronomy discussions. We plan to cover five general areas of astronomy with the reports: Solar Studies, Solar System Science, Extra-Solar Planetary Systems, Stars and Stellar Evolution, Galaxies and Cosmology.
Q- How long will it take to complete the Survey and publish a report?
A- Two years, more or less.
Q- What do you hope to achieve with the final report?
A- To provide the scientific justification for specific amateur contributions to the science of astronomy. To help strengthen existing pro-am collaborations and to encourage new collaborations. To make more amateur astronomers aware of the potential for discovery and the contributions to science they can make. To make the professional astronomical community more aware of the capabilities and potential of the amateur community.
Q- Is there some expectation that with such a survey in hand, amateur and/or
professional astronomers might be able to get new or additional funding for
A- Yes. Armed with detailed analysis and scientific justification, we hope it will be easier to obtain funding for science initiatives by amateurs and professional alike.
Q- In what form will the final report be published and distributed?
A- The report will be available for download from the web as a free pdf document. We will also make provisions for print on demand service, whereby you can pay for a bound, hard copy if you desire one. There will be two versions; a full report and a summary report.
Q- What do you anticipate funding with the money raised for the decadal survey
of amateur astronomy?
A- The money raised will pay for meetings, travel expenses, teleconferences and e-communications, staff positions (if we can fund them), cost estimations, printed and electronic media, public relations and marketing, and dissemination of the results.
Q- Where will you be looking to get financial support for the survey, and what
kind of budget do you anticipate?
A- The AAVSO will seek funding from the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Dept. of Energy and private foundations. Typically, US funding agencies only cover costs for US participants, so our international partners will need to fund their participation from within or through their respective funding agencies. We are willing to help in whatever capacity we can.
At this time, without knowing where the money will come from or how much we will get, we are proceeding with a three plan scheme. Plan A - we get all the money we need, Plan B- we get partial funding, Plan C- we have to pay for it ourselves. We've estimated the costs to be between $100,000.00 to $1M US.