Sister Clubs

The mission of the Rose City Astronomers is to provide opportunities for our members, as well as the general public, to pursue their education and interest in astronomy. This mission is shared by countless amateur astronomy clubs and groups throughout the United States and around the world. We all share an interest in the night sky, and we love to share it with others. At the same time, we are eager to enjoy viewing the splendors of the night sky only seen from other parts of the world.

Building upon independent efforts of club members, RCA has established a Sister Club Program “for the purpose of sharing mutual astronomical interests and resources” with astronomy clubs in far-away places. If you would like to find out more about the RCA Sister Club Program, or have an interest in exploring a relationship with RCA, please contact Margaret McCrea, RCA Sister Club Program Coordinator.

 Grupo de Astronomos Mendocinos Aficionados (GAMA)

"GAMA is an institution dedicated to amateur observational astronomy. It was founded by a group of people who love astronomy, on 25 September 1999 in Mendoza, Argentina. Since its inception, the practice of observing the sky, has been our key objective, continuing until present. Over the years and the contribution of the optical instruments of our members, we have perfected observing trips to dark sky to constitute the main characteristic of the Group."

Nineteen RCA members with GAMA at the border between Chile and Argentina, 2006.

Nineteen RCA members with GAMA at the border between Chile and Argentina, 2006.

Many years ago, about Y2K, there was a very young amateur astronomer in Argentina and a very newbie amateur astronomer in Portland, OR who managed to start a correspondence through this thing called email via the Internet, which was quite unreliable and demanding in its early days. Still, we managed a conversation and began to share observing notes and even created a joint observing program at Oregon Star Party for several years. The first three years, we could barely upload each other’s notes and sketches because of the differences in software and hardware, but over time, things smoothed out. One year at OSP we talked to each other on a ham radio. After that, we set up chat rooms for our annual exchanges in Kelly Hogan’s mobile Internet wagon. Then in 2004, GAMA invited RCA to come to Mendoza to observe with them on Mt. Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. So in 2006, nineteen RCA members gathered ourselves up and flew to the unknown, which turn out to be a very good thing to do indeed. The hospitality, the friendship and the amazingly crystal clear skies were boundless.

Leo, Jose and Carlos at OSP 2007. Photo by J. Keiski

Leo, Jose and Carlos at OSP 2007. Photo by J. Keiski

A year later, three GAMA members, Leo, Carlos and Jose, came to Portland to attend the annual Astronomical League conference and OSP with us. Since then, several members from RCA have traveled to Argentina to visit GAMA members and more than once, GAMA members have come to Portland. There are several long-standing friendships between members of the two clubs and Leo can be reached via the Forum as he is a Sister Club Member of RCA. Based on all this, we developed the Sister Club Program.

Since then, we have had correspondence with other clubs around the world, and even visitors from abroad, and several RCA members have traveled to far-off places for observing. In spite of this, we have never been able to replicate the organic and naturally developed friendship we’ve had with GAMA. It’s unique.

But time and technology have moved on. For one, we can now visit with GAMA via Facebook, Skype, Tweets, text and telephone as well as by Forum. And RCA has joined Astronomers Without Borders (see below) a global astronomy effort which connects amateur astronomers all over the globe. But we haven’t given up on our effort to communicate with countless amateur astronomy clubs and groups throughout the United States and around the world. We all share an interest in astronomy and there’s no reason not to be connecting on earth under our common night sky.

Here’s a message from Leo, our friend in Argentina:

Some years ago I sent from my computer an e-mail to RCA Group in Oregon because I saw on the internet a great and enthusiastic group of amateur astronomers up there. Since that day we have enjoyed together several great activities, at first from the distance, then together. Personally I think one of the most awesome things to do in astronomy is to share the skies with people from other parts of the world. That enriches our souls and our knowledge in this beautiful science. Never forget to look up and enjoy the stars!

Our current GAMA Liaison is Patricia Ayerza.

Patricia Biscay Ayerza is the liaison for the past two years with our Sister Club GAMA in Mendoza, Argentina. Of Basque heritage and Spanish speaking, Patricia has been to Argentina and other parts of South/LatinAmerica several times and has hundreds of relatives in Argentina and other parts of South America whose common ancestors also emigrated from the Basque Country. She is very knowledgeable about Argentine and South/Latin American history, business practices, politics and culture as well as learning about the Southern Sky. For going on 26 years now she hasrun a workers' comp business which she founded.  She possesses a MBA from the University of Portland, a certificate in Small Business International Trade,  and a BA in Community Studies from the University of California. She has viewed the Southern Sky several times and participated in a magnificent star party privately set up for her by GAMA in December 2016. She is very happy to serve as your contact with GAMA. You may learn more about Patricia by downloading her vitae.


Astronomers Without Borders

Recently, RCA has joined the Astronomers Without Borders club pairing program which offers another exciting way for RCA and our members to develop relationships with other amateur astronomers and clubs around the world. We look forward to working with global clubs on common interests such as public outreach, growing our clubs, and sharing cultural and astronomical experiences. While some of these relationships may evolve into a formal Sister Club relationship, others may remain as informal friendships and exchange of visits. As the world grows more intertwined, we are happy to participate in whatever form of friendship may develop with our fellow astronomers, where ever they are.

RCA Sister Club Policy Guidelines

Adopted January 6, 2014

These guidelines shall govern the establishment and maintenance of a formal relationship by RCA with another domestic or international astronomy club as a “Sister Club” for the purpose of sharing mutual astronomical interests and resources.

Sister club relationships may be established with (1) any emerging or organized astronomy club (2) with whom RCA has a history of contact, exchange and/or personal relationships with members that (3) motivates members of both clubs to commit to a moderate level of communications and interaction necessary to continue and strengthen the arrangement.

  1. Establishment of a formal Sister Club relationship is subject to approval by the RCA Board, following sufficient communications with the prospective Sister Club to gauge the interest and commitment of the prospective Sister Club in establishing and maintaining a formal relationship.
  2. Upon initiation of a Sister Club relationship, the RCA Board will designate an RCA Liaison for the purpose of nurturing and managing interaction and communications with a Sister Club. Subsequently, the RCA President shall have the authority to replace a Liaison as circumstances warrant. Liaisons shall be an RCA Member in good standing, and preference will be given to a member who can communicate in the native language of a Sister Club.
  3. The President and Liaison of a Sister Club will be treated as a regular member of RCA, and RCA shall expect reciprocal treatment from a Sister Club.
  4. An RCA Liaison will be expected to initiate regular communications with the Sister Club President or designated Liaison to exchange greetings and information on club activities, and share such information with RCA members through Forum posts and newsletter articles.
  5. If and when a member of a Sister Club comes to Portland, they may borrow RCA books and telescopes (subject to availability) and the RCA Liaison will assist the visiting member in participating in RCA activities.
  6. RCA will work with a Sister Club to establish both one-time and ongoing joint astronomical projects.
  7. To the extent necessary and practical, RCA will help a Sister Club obtain telescope equipment that will enhance the Sister Club’s resources for its members.
  8. To the extent necessary and practical, RCA will help an emerging astronomy club with guidance and assistance in organizational development.
  9. RCA shall continue a Sister Club Relationship so long as there exists a mutual desire of RCA and the Sister Club to maintain the relationship, which shall be reaffirmed annually by the Sister Club Program Coordinator.

In order to manage RCA’s relationships with prospective and official Sister Clubs and supervise individual RCA Sister Club Liaisons, the RCA Board shall designate an RCA member to serve as Sister Club Program Coordinator. The RCA Sister Club Program Coordinator will report to the RCA Vice President of Outreach and Education and provide periodic reports and updates to the RCA Board as appropriate..