Public Release: 

IAU XXIX General Assembly draws to a close

International Astronomical Union

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IMAGE: Group photo was taken after the closing ceremony of the XXIX IAU General Assembly on Aug. 14, 2015. It is important to note that not all participants (over 3,000) were... view more

Credit: IAU/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)

The IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA, ends today, Friday, 14 August 2015, after two busy weeks packed with symposia, meetings and events. The General Assembly was an enormous success, with more than 3000 attendees from 74 countries across the world, including almost 100 members of the press. These numbers made it one of the largest IAU General Assemblies ever organised. The participants enjoyed a vast collection of scientific presentations in six symposia and 22 focus meetings on research, development, advancement and collaboration within astronomy.

One new country joined the organisation on this occasion: Colombia. The General Assembly also approved around 1200 new individual IAU members at its closing ceremony, bringing the total to almost 12 500 members.

Three resolutions were approved by vote at the General Assembly. These included the confirmation and extension of the IAU strategic plan for astronomy in the developing world and the protection of radio astronomy observations in the 76-81 GHz frequency band.

The newly elected IAU officers are:

  • Silvia Torres-Peimbert, Mexico, President
  • Piero Benvenuti, Italy, General Secretary
  • Ewine van Dishoeck, the Netherlands, President-elect
  • Maria Teresa Lago, Portugal, General Secretary-elect

Seven press briefings took place on a wide range of topics, from the slow death of the Universe to the first science conducted using night-time photographs taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and received worldwide media coverage (see iau1508 - http://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1508/ , iau1509 - http://www.iau.org/public_press/news/detail/iau1509/ , iau1510 - http://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1510/ and iau1511 - http://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1511/ ).

Agreements were signed for five new coordinating offices in Armenia, Colombia, Jordan, Nigeria and Portugal. This agreement seeks to realise the social benefits of astronomy as part of the IAU's decadal strategic plan.

During the assembly, the NameExoWorlds contest also opened its public vote to decide the names of 15 stars and 32 exoplanets.

Several public outreach events took place over the course of the General Assembly, including a stargazing party, school visits to the exhibition hall and astronomers visiting more than a dozen schools, reaching about 2000 students.

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More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 10 000 professional astronomers from almost 100 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

Links

IAU General Assembly 2015 page - http://astronomy2015.org/

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