History of Pro-Am Collaboration

1998 Pro-Am Workshop
Kelly Beatty addresses a 1998 pro-am workshop held during a scientific meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.
S&T photo by Dennis di Cicco

Pre-1980:
The International Union of Amateur Astronomers (IUAA) organizes observing commissions to collect data for use by professionals.


1983, 1985:

IUAA meetings are held in Belgium and Bologna.

1987:
International Astronomical Union sponsors Colloquium 98 on Amateur Contributions to Astronomy in Paris, France, attended by 300 professional and amateur astronomers.

1988:
A two-day meeting leads to the passage of a resolution by the IAU General Assembly recognizing and encouraging further cooperation with the amateur community.

1991:
The Corporation for Research Amateur Astronomy holds a symposium in La Paz, Mexico, and its proceedings are later published.

1991, 1993:
The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and American Astronomical Society (AAS) hold consecutive meetings on emerging CCD technology and further collaboration.

June 1997:
The AAS meeting in Winston Salem offers three sessions of presentations (21 oral, 14 display) to showcase amateurs' wide range of observing skills.

October 1998:
A topical workshop at the annual meeting of the AAS's Division for Planetary Sciences in Madison, Wisconsin, explores avenues for collaboration using existing and proposed amateur organizations.

December 1998:
The Committee of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences approves a resolution endorsing the furthering of professional-amateur cooperation.

A proposal for creating the Working Group on Professional-Amateur Collaboration (WGPAC) is submitted to the AAS Council.

January 1999:
The AAS Council approves the WGPAC proposal, granting an initial five-year charter.

July 1999:
A two-day "Partnerships in Astronomy" symposium is attended by 200 professionals and amateurs during a joint meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, AAVSO, and Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in Toronto. The WGPAC holds its first meeting there.

August 1999:
The European Southern Observatory and the German amateur society Vereinigung der Sternfreunde host a week-long symposium entitled "Research Amateur Astronomy in the VLT Era."

May 2001:
Dirk Terrell conducts a workshop on observing eclipsing binaries at the AAVSO's annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

July 2002:
A session at the annual convention of the Astronomical League (ALCON) in Salt Lake City, Utah, debuts the first WGPAC-sanctioned workshop on advanced observing techniques.