|Union astronomique internationale (UAI)|
|Formation||28 July 1919|
|82 national members |
13,701 individual members
|Ewine van Dishoeck|
|Maria Teresa Lago|
The International Astronomical Union (IAU; French : Union astronomique internationale, UAI) is a nongovernmental organisation with the objective of advancing astronomy in all aspects, including promoting astronomical research, outreach, education, and development through global cooperation. It was founded in 1919 and is based in Paris, France.
The IAU is composed of individual members, who include both professional astronomers and junior scientists, and national members, such as professional associations, national societies, or academic institutions. Individual members are organised into divisions, committees, and working groups centered on particular subdisciplines, subjects, or initiatives. As of 2018, the Union had over 13,700 individual members, spanning 90 countries, and 82 national members.
Among the key activities of the IAU is serving as a forum for scientific conferences. It sponsors nine annual symposia and holds a triannual General Assembly that sets policy and includes various scientific meetings. The Union is best known for being the leading authority in assigning official names and designations to astronomical objects, and for setting uniform definitions for astronomical principles. It also coordinates with national and international partners, such as UNESCO, to fulfill its mission.
The IAU is a member of the International Science Council (ISC), which is composed of international scholarly and scientific institutions and national academies of sciences..
The International Astronomical Union is an international association of professional astronomers, at the PhD level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy.Among other activities, it acts as the recognized authority for assigning designations and names to celestial bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, etc.) and any surface features on them.
The IAU is a member of the International Science Council (ISC). Its main objective is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU maintains friendly relations with organizations that include amateur astronomers in their membership. The IAU has its head office on the second floor of the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.
This organisation has many working groups. For example, the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN), which maintains the astronomical naming conventions and planetary nomenclature for planetary bodies, and the Working Group on Star Names (WGSN), which catalogues and standardizes proper names for stars. The IAU is also responsible for the system of astronomical telegrams which are produced and distributed on its behalf by the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. The Minor Planet Center also operates under the IAU, and is a "clearinghouse" for all non-planetary or non-moon bodies in the Solar System.
The IAU was founded on 28 July 1919, at the Constitutive Assembly of the International Research Council (now the International Science Council) held in Brussels, Belgium.Two subsidiaries of the IAU were also created at this assembly: the International Time Commission seated at the International Time Bureau in Paris, France, and the International Central Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams initially seated in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The seven initial member states were Belgium, Canada, France, Great Britain, Greece, Japan, and the United States, soon to be followed by Italy and Mexico.The first executive committee consisted of Benjamin Baillaud (President, France), Alfred Fowler (General Secretary, UK), and four vice presidents: William Campbell (USA), Frank Dyson (UK), Georges Lecointe (Belgium), and Annibale Riccò (Italy). Thirty-two Commissions (referred to initially as Standing Committees) were appointed at the Brussels meeting and focused on topics ranging from relativity to minor planets. The reports of these 32 Commissions formed the main substance of the first General Assembly, which took place in Rome, Italy, 2–10 May 1922.
By the end of the first General Assembly, ten additional nations (Australia, Brazil, Czecho-Slovakia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, and Spain) had joined the Union, bringing the total membership to 19 countries. Although the Union was officially formed eight months after the end of World War I, international collaboration in astronomy had been strong in the pre-war era (e.g., the Astronomische Gesellschaft Katalog projects since 1868, the Astrographic Catalogue since 1887, and the International Union for Solar research since 1904).
The first 50 years of the Union's history are well documented.Subsequent history is recorded in the form of reminiscences of past IAU Presidents and General Secretaries. Twelve of the fourteen past General Secretaries in the period 1964-2006 contributed their recollections of the Union's history in IAU Information Bulletin No. 100. Six past IAU Presidents in the period 1976–2003 also contributed their recollections in IAU Information Bulletin No. 104.
As of 1 August 2019, the IAU has a total of 13,701 individual members, who are professional astronomers from 102 countries worldwide; 81.7% of individual members are male, while 18.3% are female.
Membership also includes 82 national members, professional astronomical communities representing their country's affiliation with the IAU. National members include the Australian Academy of Science, the Chinese Astronomical Society, the French Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the National Academies (United States), the National Research Foundation of South Africa, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Argentina), KACST (Saudi Arabia), the Council of German Observatories, the Royal Astronomical Society (United Kingdom), the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Science Council of Japan, among many others.
The sovereign body of the IAU is its General Assembly, which comprises all members. The Assembly determines IAU policy, approves the Statutes and By-Laws of the Union (and amendments proposed thereto) and elects various committees.
The right to vote on matters brought before the Assembly varies according to the type of business under discussion. The Statutes consider such business to be divided into two categories:
On budget matters (which fall into the second category), votes are weighted according to the relative subscription levels of the national members. A second category vote requires a turnout of at least two-thirds of national members to be valid. An absolute majority is sufficient for approval in any vote, except for Statute revision which requires a two-thirds majority. An equality of votes is resolved by the vote of the President of the Union.
Since 1922, the IAU General Assembly meets every three years, except for the period between 1938 and 1948, due to World War II. After a Polish request in 1967, and by a controversial decisionof the then President of the IAU, an Extraordinary IAU General Assembly was held in September 1973 in Warsaw, Poland, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus, soon after the regular 1973 GA had been held in Sydney, Australia.
|Ist IAU General Assembly (1st)||1922||Rome, Italy|
|IInd IAU General Assembly (2nd)||1925||Cambridge, England, United Kingdom|
|IIIrd IAU General Assembly (3rd)||1928||Leiden, Netherlands|
|IVth IAU General Assembly (4th)||1932||Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States|
|Vth IAU General Assembly (5th)||1935||Paris, France|
|VIth IAU General Assembly (6th)||1938||Stockholm, Sweden|
|VIIth IAU General Assembly (7th)||1948||Zürich, Switzerland|
|VIIIth IAU General Assembly (8th)||1952||Rome, Italy|
|IXth IAU General Assembly (9th)||1955||Dublin, Ireland|
|Xth IAU General Assembly (10th)||1958||Moscow, Soviet Union|
|XIth IAU General Assembly (11th)||1961||Berkeley, California, United States|
|XIIth IAU General Assembly (12th)||1964||Hamburg, West Germany|
|XIIIth IAU General Assembly (13th)||1967||Prague, Czechoslovakia|
|XIVth IAU General Assembly (14th)||1970||Brighton, England, United Kingdom|
|XVth IAU General Assembly (15th)||1973||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|XVIth IAU General Assembly (16th)||1976||Grenoble, France|
|XVIIth IAU General Assembly (17th)||1979||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|XVIIIth IAU General Assembly (18th)||1982||Patras, Greece|
|XIXth IAU General Assembly (19th)||1985||New Delhi, India|
|XXth IAU General Assembly (20th)||1988||Baltimore, Maryland, United States|
|XXIst IAU General Assembly (21st)||1991||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|XXIInd IAU General Assembly (22nd)||1994||The Hague, Netherlands|
|XXIIIrd IAU General Assembly (23rd)||1997||Kyoto, Kansai, Japan|
|XXIVth IAU General Assembly (24th)||2000||Manchester, England, United Kingdom|
|XXVth IAU General Assembly (25th)||2003||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|XXVIth IAU General Assembly (26th)||2006||Prague, Czech Republic|
|XXVIIth IAU General Assembly (27th)||2009||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|XXVIIIth IAU General Assembly (28th)||2012||Beijing, China|
|XXIXth IAU General Assembly (29th)||2015||Honolulu, Hawaii, United States|
|XXXth IAU General Assembly (30th)||2018||Vienna, Austria|
|XXXIst IAU General Assembly (31st)||2022||Busan, South Korea|
Commission 46 is a Committee of the Executive Committee of the IAU, playing a special role in the discussion of astronomy development with governments and scientific academies. The IAU is affiliated with the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), a non-governmental organization representing a global membership that includes both national scientific bodies and international scientific unions. They often encourage countries to become members of the IAU. The Commission further seeks to development, information or improvement of astronomical education. Part of Commission 46, is Teaching Astronomy for Development (TAD) program in countries where there is currently very little astronomical education. Another program is named the Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP), is a project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, among which Hands-On Universe that will concentrate more resources on education activities for children and schools designed to advance sustainable global development. GTTP is also concerned with the effective use and transfer of astronomy education tools and resources into classroom science curricula. A strategic plan for the period 2010-2020 has been published.
In 2004 the IAU contracted with the Cambridge University Press to publish the Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union.
In 2007, the Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal Working Group prepared a study assessing the feasibility of the Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal (CAP Journal).[ citation needed ]
An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, moons, comets and galaxies – in either observational or theoretical astronomy. Examples of topics or fields astronomers study include planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies. Related but distinct subjects are like physical cosmology, which studies the Universe as a whole.
The astronomical unit is a unit of length, roughly the distance from Earth to the Sun and equal to about 150 million kilometres or ~8 light minutes. The actual distance from Earth to the Sun varies by about 3% as Earth orbits the Sun, from a maximum (aphelion) to a minimum (perihelion) and back again once each year. The astronomical unit was originally conceived as the average of Earth's aphelion and perihelion; however, since 2012 it has been defined as exactly 149597870700 m.
In ancient times, only the Sun and Moon, a few stars, and the most easily visible planets had names. Over the last few hundred years, the number of identified astronomical objects has risen from hundreds to over a billion, and more are discovered every year. Astronomers need to be able to assign systematic designations to unambiguously identify all of these objects, and at the same time give names to the most interesting objects, and where relevant, features of those objects.
The Minor Planet Center (MPC) is the official body for observing and reporting on minor planets under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Founded in 1947, it operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
David Clifford Jewitt is a British-American astronomer who studies the Solar System, especially its minor bodies. He is based at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is a Member of the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics, the Director of the Institute for Planets and Exoplanets, Professor of Astronomy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Professor of Astronomy in the Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences. He is best known for being the first person to discover a body beyond Pluto and Charon in the Kuiper belt.
Bartholomeus Jan "Bart" Bok was a Dutch-American astronomer, teacher, and lecturer. He is best known for his work on the structure and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy, and for the discovery of Bok globules, which are small, densely dark clouds of interstellar gas and dust that can be seen silhouetted against brighter backgrounds. Bok suggested that these globules may be in the process of contracting, before forming into stars.
The definition of planet, since the word was coined by the ancient Greeks, has included within its scope a wide range of celestial bodies. Greek astronomers employed the term asteres planetai, "wandering stars", for star-like objects which apparently moved over the sky. Over the millennia, the term has included a variety of different objects, from the Sun and the Moon to satellites and asteroids.
Krisztián Sárneczky is a Hungarian teacher of geography and prolific discoverer of minor planets and supernovae, researching at Konkoly Observatory in Budapest, Hungary. He is a board member of the Hungarian Astronomical Association (HAA) and member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, leader of the Comet Section of the HAA, and is a contributor in the editorial work of Hungarian Astronomical Almanach.
The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) was a year-long celebration of astronomy that took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo Galilei and the publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia nova in the 17th century. The Year was declared by the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations. A global scheme, laid out by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), was also endorsed by UNESCO, the UN body responsible for educational, scientific, and cultural matters.
A dwarf planet is a small planetary-mass object that is in direct orbit of the Sun – something smaller than any of the eight classical planets, but still a world in its own right. The prototypical dwarf planet is Pluto. The interest of dwarf planets to planetary geologists is that, being possibly differentiated and geologically active bodies, they may display planetary geology, an expectation borne out by the Dawn mission to Ceres and the New Horizons mission to Pluto in 2015.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) defined in August 2006 that, in the Solar System, a planet is a celestial body that:
Elena Vladimirovna Pitjeva is a Russian astronomer working at the Institute of Applied Astronomy, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg. She has published over 100 articles, as listed in Google Scholar and the Astrophysics Data System in the field of solar system dynamics and celestial mechanics.
Priscilla Fairfield Bok was an American astronomer and the wife of Dutch-born astronomer Bart Bok, Director of Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia and later of Steward Observatory in Arizona, US. Their harmonious marriage accompanied the four decades of their close scientific collaboration, in which "it is difficult and pointless to separate his achievements from hers". They co-authored a number of academic papers on star clusters, stellar magnitudes, and the structure of the Milky Way galaxy. The Boks displayed great mutual enthusiasm for explaining astronomy to the public: described as "salesmen of the Milky Way" by The Boston Globe, their general interest book The Milky Way went through five editions and was said to be "one of the most successful astronomical texts ever written".
The Société astronomique de France, the French astronomical society, is a non-profit association in the public interest organized under French law. Founded by astronomer Camille Flammarion in 1887, its purpose is to promote the development and practice of astronomy.
Jean-Claude Pecker was a French astronomer, astrophysicist and author, member of the French Academy of Sciences and director of the Nice Observatory. He served as the secretary-general of the International Astronomical Union from 1964 to 1967. Pecker was the President of the Société astronomique de France (SAF), the French amateur astronomical society, from 1973–1976. He was awarded the Prix Jules Janssen by the French Astronomical Society in 1967. A minor planet is named after him. Pecker was a vocal opponent of astrology and pseudo-science and was the president of the Association française pour l'information scientifique (AFIS), a skeptical organisation which promotes scientific enquiry in the face of quackery and obscurantism.
Shaikh Mohammad Razaullah Ansari is a historian of science, physicist, astronomer and author from India.
Dmitry Valerevich Bisikalo is a Russian astrophysicist and an expert in the interaction of binary stars. He is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the IAU, and director of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) established a Working Group on Star Names (WGSN) in May 2016 to catalog and standardize proper names for stars for the international astronomical community. It operates under Division C – Education, Outreach and Heritage.
Anita L. Cochran is an American astronomer, planetary scientist, and senior research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also the assistant director for research support at the McDonald Observatory. She focuses on the study of primitive bodies in the solar system and the composition of comets.
Gloria Dubner is an Argentinian astrophysicist and Director of the Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio in Buenos Aires and a Senior Researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council. She is known for her research on supernovas.
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