The IWCAs and their predecessors, the American Workshops on Cometary Astronomy (four AWCAs were held in the United States between 1982 and 1987), were established by the ICQ as a forum for bringing amateur and professional astronomers together with the goals of (1) improving the acquisition of cometary information, (2) increasing understanding as to what science can be gained through observing comets by both amateurs and professionals, and (3) providing a forum in which cometary astronomers can meet others from distant geographical locations and discuss various issues. This concept was continued for IWCA I (held in February 1994 in Selvino, Italy), IWCA II in Cambridge, England, IWCA III in Paris, and we plan to continue it for future IWCAs.
Following an established pattern of holding IWCAs every five years (the 1999 Workshop in England and the 2004 Workshop in France being the most recent), we are now planning to hold the fourth IWCA in Shanghai, China, on 2009 July 23 (Thursday) -- one day after the long total solar eclipse of 2009 July 22 (totality will be visible in Shangai, weather permitting). The IWCA IV will be co-hosted by the ICQ, the Chinese Astronomical Society, and the Beijing Planetarium. The venue is still being sought. Current plans are for a half-day meeting in English with all participants (Chinese and non-Chinese attendees), and the second half of the day will have the meeting split into two groups: one being conducted in Chinese only, and the other being conducted in English only. Additional details will appear here as soon as they become available. [There had originally been plans to have the IWCA IV in Japan in July 2009, but international interest has unfortunately been too weak to warrant the effort of planning such a meeting.]
Also, there are now plans to hold the fifth IWCA at the Rio de Janeiro Planetarium (Brazil) on Saturday, 2009 August 8, during the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, so that professional astronomers present at the G.A. can meet with South American cometary amateur observers.
Holding Workshops around the time of major astronomical events has the advantage of potentially bringing a more international group of attendees, drawing those who might not otherwise travel to such a meeting from a long distance.
Invited and contributed talks from the IWCAs are sometimes published in special Proceedings issues of the ICQ.
History of American (AWCAs) and International Workshops on Cometary Astronomy (IWCAs), including planned future meetings Workshop LOCATION DATE Near time of ... -------- -------- ------- ---------------- AWCA I Cambridge, MA, U.S.A. 1982 May 1 AWCA II Pasadena, CA, U.S.A. 1983 Oct. 1 AWCA III Tucson, AZ, U.S.A. 1985 June 17 Halley's comet AWCA IV Pasadena, CA, U.S.A. 1987 Feb. 21-22 Halley's comet IWCA I Selvino, Italy 1994 Feb. 18-19 good Alps skiing! IWCA II Cambridge, England 1999 Aug. 14-16 total solar eclipse IWCA III Paris, France 2004 June 4-6 Venus transit IWCA IV Shanghai, China 2009 July 23 total solar eclipse IWCA V Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2009 August 8 IAU General Assembly IWCA VI St. Louis, MO, U.S.A. 2017 Aug. 23 total solar eclipse ________