International Astronomical Union

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.[3] It was founded in 1919 and is based in Paris, France.

International Astronomical Union (IAU)
Union astronomique internationale (UAI)
Formation28 July 1919; 103 years ago (1919-07-28)
HeadquartersParis, France
85 national members[1]
12,131 individual members[2]
Debra Meloy Elmegreen
José Miguel Rodríguez Espinosa

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.[4]

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.

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