Who We Are

Who We Are

Citizen Sky is now officially permanent part of the AAVSO. In the coming weeks we will be moving additional content to the AAVSO site and freezing this site as an archive of the 1st three years of the project. Please visit the new landing page for future updates.

The People


Dr. Arne Henden

Project Principal Investigator

The People


Dr. Arne Henden

Project Principal Investigator

Arne Henden is the Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers.  He holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Indiana University.  He came to the AAVSO from the U.S. Naval Observatory, Flagstaff Station. While a Senior Research Scientist at NOFS, Arne specialized in optical and near-IR imaging systems, working on variable stars, brown dwarfs, and all-sky photometric calibration.

During his years at NOFS, Arne emerged as one of the premier mentors of amateur astronomers, especially those interested in variable stars and minor planet astrometry.   He has given talks and workshops world-wide on observing techniques and professional-amateur collaboration.

Rebecca Turner

Project Manager

Rebecca has been on staff at the AAVSO since 1995.  She has worked on various projects during her time with the AAVSO. She developed and authored the AAVSO News Flash before the publication was automated, she was the Project Coordinator for the 2002 AAVSO Data Validation Project, and she has been the AAVSO Meeting Coordinator since 1996.

Rebecca is originally from Atlanta, GA. She came to Boston (and the AAVSO) right after receiving her Bachelor's degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Georgia. Rebecca has always been interested in both theatre and astronomy. Since arriving in Boston she has been very active in the Boston regional theater scene.  She currently sings in a Boston-area band.


Dr. Aaron Price

Project Creator/Education Researcher

Aaron is the Assistant Director of the AAVSO, where he has worked for over ten years. He has a PhD in Science Education from  Tufts University. He was chair of the U.S.'s IYA working group on Research Experiences for Students, Teachers and Citizen Science, which spearheaded development of this project. In that role, he was lead author of the NSF proposal that funded CitizenSky. Due to school requirements, he is currently working part-time and focuses on the education research component of the project.

It took almost two years of effort to get from the initial idea of the project to the final funding award. During that time Aaron sometimes had dreams about epsilon Aurigae and grant writing - proving that he is, indeed, quite the science geek. In fact, his science geekness is only matched by his sports geekness. When not at school or work, Aaron is an injury-prone runner and a big fan of the city of Boston.


Dr. Robert Stencel

Lead Scientist/epsilon Aurigae expert

Robert Stencel is the William Herschel Womble Professor of Astronomy at Denver University (DU).  He became interested in Astronomy as a result of Sputnik, and was fortunate to have as a mentor during high school Ed Halbach, prolific observer for AAVSO and one of the founders of the Astronomical League. Following graduate study in astronomy at the University of Michigan, Dr. Stencel worked at NASA Houston and Greenbelt sites and NASA Headquarters in Washington DC, where he organized the 1982-84 epsilon Aurigae eclipse campaign. He joined Denver University in 1993 where he teaches astronomy and astrophysics, and is once more following epsilon Aurigae in eclipse (2009-11). He is also the Director of the DU Observatories: Chamberlin and Mt.Evans - see website http://www.du.edu/~rstencel.


Kate Davis

Web Developer Emeritus

Kate worked for the AAVSO for 10 years. She developed and maintained the extensive website of the AAVSO and Citizen Sky. She studies computer science at the Harvard Extension School and is now employed in the private sector, but still supports the project in her spare time. Kate likes to participate in and train for triathlons. She also has a very cute beagle that might make an appearance on the site from time to time.


Dr. Lucy Fortson

Senior Advisor

Lucy Fortson is the Vice President for Research at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago. Lucy studies gamma ray astronomy through the VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) project. She has developed the themes, written content, and created exhibits for three museum galleries, and has directed three shows in Adler's StarRider Virtual Reality theater. Her role in Citizen Sky is to advise the astronomy research and education aspects of the project, as well as to plan and direct the workshop at Adler. Lucy is every bit as high-energy as the gamma rays that she studies.


Jordan Raddick

Web Consultant

Jordan is a science educator at Johns Hopkins University and education director of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He has worked on a number of projects bringing scientific data to the public, including Galaxy Zoo

Jordan is originally from Orlando, Florida. He has a master's degree in science journalism from Johns Hopkins and is about to begin a Doctorate of Education. Jordan is a political junkie, soccer goalie, and avid science fiction reader. He doesn't always wear a tuxedo, but always seems to in pictures on the web.

Ryan Wyatt

Visualization Developer

Ryan Wyatt is the Director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences. He creates planetarium shows and multimedia and educational resources for a variety of astronomical topics. His role in Citizen Sky is to create animations and other resources about the "star" of our show, epsilon Aurigae. When once asked if he was a cat person or dog person, Ryan replied, "ferret person."


Brian Kloppenborg

Graduate Student

Brian is a third-year graduate student working under the direction of Dr. Robert Stencel in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Denver.  Brian is a two-year recipient of the William Herschel Womble Graduate Research Fellowship for studies in Astrophysics.  Before joining DU, Brian completed a B.A. in Physics at Hastings College in Hastings, NE with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics.  While completing his undergraduate degree, he was Assistant to the Curator of Astronomy of the City of Hastings at the J.M. McDonald Planetarium in the Hastings Museum in Hastings, NE and Observatory Assistant at the Sachtleben Observatory of Hastings College.

Brian's research interests include Optical Interferometry, Bow Shocks, and computational astrophysics.

The Organizations and Institutions



The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) is a non-profit worldwide scientific and educational organization of amateur and professional astronomers who are interested in stars that change in brightness - variable stars.  The AAVSO’s mission is: to observe and analyze variable stars; to collect and archive observations for worldwide access; to forge strong collaborations between amateur and professional astronomers; and to promote scientific research and education using variable star data.  The AAVSO is spearheading the Citizen Sky Project and serves as Citizen Sky Headquarters.

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium in Chicago, built in 1930, was the first planetarium in the United States. Adler has two planetarium theaters and a many astronomy exhibits, and runs a variety of school and community programs in Chicago. Adler will host the Citizen Sky workshop in summer 2009 and has a team working on an eps Aur visualization.


California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a science museum and research facility located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Academy building includes a natural history museum, an aquarium, and a planetarium, and leads community and education programs in northern California. The Academy will host our second workshop during the spring of 2010 and will create visualizations and a planetarium show trailer for our project.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is a large research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Johns Hopkins graduates or faculty have won more than 20 Nobel Prizes. Staff from Johns Hopkins are contributing to the development of the Citizen Sky web site.


University of Denver

The University of Denver is a research university in Denver, Colorado. It is the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountains. Faculty from the University of Denver are contributing expertise about the “star” of Citizen Sky, epsilon Aurigae.

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