Mike joined the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) in 1998 and quickly became one of the world’s leading variable star observers, now with over 86,000 variable star observations in the AAVSO International Database.
After receiving the organization’s highest honor, the AAVSO Director’s Award in 2005, Mike was elected to the governing council of the AAVSO. After distinguishing himself as a board member and officer, Mike resigned his seat to serve as an employee of the AAVSO as Membership Director and Development Officer. Mike is also coordinator of the AAVSO Chart Team, Mentor Program, Speakers Bureau, Writers Bureau and Cataclysmic Variable Section.
In 2011, Mike was awarded the Charles Butterworth Award from the British Astronomical Association and in 2012 he was the recipient of the Astronomical League’s Leslie C. Peltier Award for his leadership in pro-am astronomical research.
His current area of research is Z Cam dwarf novae, and he is the author or co-author of more than thirty peer-reviewed papers on cataclysmic variables.
Mike’s writes an astronomy blog, Simostronomy, is a staff writer for Universe Today and has contributed articles to both Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines.
An animated and enthusiastic speaker, Mike gives talks on stellar astronomy and variable star science to astronomy clubs, organizations, conferences and university groups throughout the United States each year.
Mike's observatory, named after legendary AAVSO observer and chart maker, Charles E. Scovil, houses two 12" LX200 telescopes, one for visual use and one for CCD observations, or as Mike likes to joke, "One for each eye!" He is now amassing both visual and CCD observations from home and remote robotic telescopes.
The asteroid 367732 Mikesimonsen is named for him.
Talks given in the past include:
AAVSO Centennial Celebration 2011, Boston, MA
Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL
Abrahms Planetarium, East Lansing, MI
AstroCon 2004, Oakland, CA
ALCon 2009, New York, NY
ALCon 2012, Chicago, IL
BAAVSS Weekend, Preston, England
BAAVSS-AAVSO Joint Meeting, Cambridge, England
CAPAS Pro-Am Astronomical Conference, Rodez, France
Cherry Springs Star Party, Coudersport, PA
Columbus Astronomical Society, Columbus, OH
Cranbrook Science Center, Bloomfield, MI
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
Joint Meeting of the AAVSO and BAAVSS, Cambridge, England
Joint Meeting of the AAVSO and AAS, Boston, MA
Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, Kalamazoo, MI
Mensa Annual Meeting, Fort Worth, TX
Naperville Astronomical Society, Naperville, IL
Nebraska Star Party, Valentine, NE
Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC), Suffern, NY
Northeast Astronomical Forum and Telescope Show (NEAF), Suffern, NY
Orange County Astronomers, Los Angeles, CA
Rochester Astronomical Society, Rochester, MI
Rocky Mountain Star Stare, Gardner, CO
Society for Astronomical Sciences, Big Bear, CA
Texas Star Party, Fort Davis, TX
University Lowbrow Astronomers, Ann Arbor, MI
Warren Astronomical Society, Warren, MI