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Encyclopedia > International Astronomical Union
Logo of the IAU, initialism both in French and English (UAI for Union Astronomique Internationale and IAU for International Astronomical Union)

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) unites national astronomical societies from around the world. It also acts as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, etc.) and any surface features on them, and is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The main aim of the IAU is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Headquartered in Paris, France, its individual members are professional astronomers from all over the world, at the Ph.D. level or beyond, and active in professional research and education in astronomy. The IAU maintains friendly relations with organizations that include amateur astronomers in their membership. National Members are usually those with a significant level of professional astronomy. IAU may refer to: International Astronomical Union International American University International Association of Universities International Association of Ultra Runners for ultramarathoners. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 523 pixelsFull resolution (1280 × 836 pixels, file size: 55 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This image or media has a fair use rationale that is disputed because of the following concern: . Unless concern is addressed by adding an appropriate fair... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 523 pixelsFull resolution (1280 × 836 pixels, file size: 55 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This image or media has a fair use rationale that is disputed because of the following concern: . Unless concern is addressed by adding an appropriate fair... For other uses, see Astronomy (disambiguation). ... This article is about the astronomical object. ... This article is about the astronomical term. ... For other uses, see Asteroid (disambiguation). ... The International Council for Science (ICSU), formerly called the International Council of Scientific Unions, was founded in 1931 as an international non-governmental organization devoted to international co-operation in the advancement of science. ...


Working groups include the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN), which maintains the astronomical naming conventions and planetary nomenclature for planetary bodies. 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 (MPC), a clearinghouse for all non-planetary or non-moon bodies in the solar system, also operates under the IAU. In ancient times, only the Sun and Moon, a few hundred stars and the most easily visible planets had names. ... Planetary nomenclature, like terrestrial nomenclature, is used to uniquely identify a feature on the surface of a planet or natural satellite so that the feature can be easily located, described, and discussed. ... The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT) is the official international clearing house for information relating to transient astronomical events. ... The Minor Planet Center operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), which is part of the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) along with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO). ... This article is about the Solar System. ...

Contents

History

The IAU was founded in 1919, as a merger of various international projects including the Carte du Ciel, the Solar Union and the International Time Bureau (Bureau International de l'Heure). The first appointed President was Benjamin Baillaud. Pieter Johannes van Rhijn served as president from 1932 to 1958. Carte du Ciel (Map of the Sky) was an international project to map the positions of millions of stars — that is to say, of all stars to the 11th or 12th magnitude. ... The Bureau International de lHeure (BIH) or the International Time Bureau, seated at the Paris Observatory, was the international bureau responsible for combining different measurements of Universal Time. ... Image:BenjaminBaillaud. ... Pieter Johannes van Rhijn (March 24, 1886—May 9, 1960) was a Dutch astronomer. ...


Composition

The IAU has 9,785 individual members, all of whom are professional astronomers and most of whom hold PhDs. There are also 63 national members who represent countries affiliated with the IAU. 87% of individual members are male; 13% are female. The union's current president is astronomer Catherine J. Cesarsky. PhD usually refers to the academic title Doctor of Philosophy PhD can also refer to the manga Phantasy Degree This is a disambiguation page — a list of pages that otherwise might share the same title. ... Catherine Jeanne Cesarsky is an astronomer and known for her successful research activities in several central areas of modern astrophysics. ...


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:

  • issues of a "primarily scientific nature" (as determined by the Executive Committee), upon which voting is restricted to individual members, and
  • all other matters (such as Statute revision and procedural questions), upon which voting is restricted to the representatives of national members.

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 in order 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. A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority in order to have effect. ...


General Assemblies

The IAU General Assembly meets every three years, with the exception of WWII.

Past meetings include: Peking redirects here. ... This article is about the Brazilian city. ...

For other uses, see Prague (disambiguation). ... This article is about the metropolitan area in Australia. ... This article is about the City of Manchester in England. ... Kyoto )   is a city in the central part of the island of HonshÅ«, Japan. ... Coordinates: , Country Netherlands Province South Holland Area (2006)  - Municipality 98. ... For other uses, see Buenos Aires (disambiguation). ... Baltimore redirects here. ... , This article is about the urban region that is the capital of India. ... Patras (Demotic Greek: Πάτρα, Pátra, Classical Greek: Πάτραι, Pátrai, Latin: , Ottoman Turkish: Ballıbadra) is the third-largest city of Greece and the capital of the prefecture of Achaea, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers to the west of Athens. ... Nickname: Motto: Concordia Salus (well-being through harmony) Coordinates: , Country Province Region Montréal Founded 1642 Established 1832 Government  - Mayor Gérald Tremblay Area [1][2][3]  - City 365. ... Grenoble (Arpitan: Grenoblo) is a city and commune in south-east France situated at the foot of the Alps where the Drac joins the Isère River. ... “Copernicus” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Warsaw (disambiguation) and Warszawa (disambiguation). ... This article is about the metropolitan area in Australia. ... For other places with the same name, see Brighton (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Prague (disambiguation). ... This article is about the city in Germany. ... Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern California, in the United States. ... For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Dublin (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... For other uses of Zurich, see Zurich (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Stockholm (disambiguation). ... This article is about the capital of France. ... Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts Coordinates: , Country State County Middlesex Settled 1630 Incorporated 1636 Government  - Type Mayor-City Council  - Mayor Kenneth Reeves (D) Area  - City  7. ... Coordinates: , Country Province Area (2006)  - Municipality 23. ... This article is about the city in England. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ...

The XXVIth General Assembly and the definition of a planet

The XXVIth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union was held from August 14 to August 25, 2006 in Prague, Czech Republic. On 15 August the Assembly decided to restore to individual members the right to vote on scientific matters, which had been removed from them at the XXVth Assembly in 2003. Among the business before the Assembly was a proposal to adopt a formal definition of planet. During the General Assembly the text of the definition evolved from the initial proposal that would have created 12 known planets in our solar system (adding initially the asteroid Ceres, Pluto's present moon Charon and Eris and would retain Pluto as a planet) to the final definition of a planet resolution that was passed on August 24 by the Assembly, which classified Ceres, Eris and Pluto as dwarf planets, and reduced the number of planets in the solar system to 8. The voting procedure followed IAU's Statutes[1] and Working Rules[2]. The General Assembly lasted 12 days and had 2412 participants[3], most of them for only part of the duration of the Assembly. 424 of the 9785 individual IAU members attended the Closing Ceremony 24 August 2006. Following the August 24th, 2006, parts of the scientific community did not agree with this ruling, especially the specific wording of the resolution, and criticized IAU's authority to name celestial bodies. In the ensuing public debate a number of laypersons, especially school children, expressed (at times strong emotional) disagreement with the vote. Another, less vocal, fraction of the scientific community backs the resolution. The final definition left the solar system with eight planets. ... is the 226th day of the year (227th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 237th day of the year (238th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Prague (disambiguation). ... is the 227th day of the year (228th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The final definition left the solar system with eight planets, pictured above (not to scale) Displays the remaining eight planets with the celestial bodies that have now been designated as dwarf planets. ... A planet (from the Greek πλανήτης, planetes or wanderers) is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that produces very little or no energy through nuclear fusion. ... This article is about the Solar System. ... Spectral type: G[8] Absolute magnitude: 3. ... For other uses, see Pluto (disambiguation). ... Charon (shair-É™n or kair-É™n (key), IPA , Greek Χάρων), discovered in 1978, is, depending on the definition employed, either the largest moon of Pluto or one member of a double dwarf planet with Pluto being the other member. ... Absolute magnitude: −1. ... The final definition left the solar system with eight planets, pictured above (not to scale) Displays the remaining eight planets with the celestial bodies that have now been designated as dwarf planets. ... is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, including the Greek goddess, see Eris. ... Artists impression of Pluto (background) and Charon (foreground). ...


See also

In ancient times, only the Sun and Moon, a few hundred stars and the most easily visible planets had names. ... Planetary nomenclature, like terrestrial nomenclature, is used to uniquely identify a feature on the surface of a planet or natural satellite so that the feature can be easily located, described, and discussed. ...

External links

  • Website of the International Astronomical Union
  • XXVIth General Assembly 2006
  • XXVIIth General Assembly 2009

References

  • Statutes of the IAU, VII: General Assembly, ss. 13-15
  1. ^ IAU's Statutes
  2. ^ IAU's Working Rules
  3. ^ IAU General Assembly Welcome page

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