2016 schedule

Sun 16:30-17:00
Theatre 104

The PACA Project: Pro-Am Collaborative Astronomy

Padma A. Yanamandra-Fisher, Chris Wyatt, Tavi A. Greiner, Christina Feliciano-Rivera, Tony Angel and The PACA Project Team

Space Science Institute and The PACA Project

The PACA Project, designed and overseen by PI Yanamandra-Fisher, is an ecosystem of several social medias (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo) that takes advantage of the social and immediate connectivity amongst amateur astronomers worldwide and that can be galvanized to participate in a given observing campaign. The Pro-Am Collaborative Astronomy (PACA) project evolved from the observational campaign of C/2012 S1 or C/ISON in 2013. Following the success of the professional-amateur astronomer collaboration in scientific research via social media, it is now implemented in other comet observing campaigns. While PACA identifies a consistent collaborative approach to pro-am collaborations, given the volume of data generated for each campaign, new ways of rapid data analysis, mining access and storage are needed. Several interesting results emerged from the synergistic inclusion of both social media and amateur astronomers:(1) the establishment of a network of astronomers and related professionals, that canbe galvanized into action on short notice to support observing campaigns;(2) assist in various science investigations pertinent to the campaign;(3) provide an alert-sounding mechanism should the need arise;(4) immediate outreach and dissemination of results via our media/blogger members;(5) provide a forum for discussions between the imagers and modelers to help strategize the observing campaign for maximum benefit. In 2014, two new comet observing campaigns involving pro-am collaborations have been initiated: (1) C/2013 A1 (C/SidingSpring) and (2) 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (CG), target for ESA/Rosetta mission. Several Australian amateur astronomers (R. Kaufman, R.Knight, T. Lovejoy, C. Wyatt, D. Burton, S. Webb, etc.) and robotic telescope networks (such as iTelescope.net) were added to the PACA efforts during NACAA 2014. The evolving need for individual customized observing campaigns has been incorporated into the evolution of PACA portal that currently is focused on comets: from supporting observing campaigns of current comets, legacy data, historical comets; interconnected with social media and a set of shareable documents addressing observational strategies; consistent standards for data; data access, use, and storage, to align with the needs of professional observers. The integration of science, observations by professional and amateur astronomers, and various social media provides a dynamic and evolving collaborative partnership between professional and amateur astronomers. The empowerment of amateur astronomers vis-à-vis their partnerships with the professional scientists creates a new demographic of data scientists, enabling citizen science of the integrated data from both the professional and amateur communities. We will present results from the various comet campaigns and will also highlight upcoming campaigns and new partnerships, including solar and planetary observing campaigns in the next three years, and well-placed for southern hemisphere observers.