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Board on International Scientific Organizations
Policy and Global Affairs
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U.S. National Committee for IAU

The National Academy of Sciences is the U.S. adhering body of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and it maintains its relationship with the union through the U.S. National Committee (USNC)/IAU. The IAU’s mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation.


AAS Releases List of Best Locations For Viewing the Solar Eclipse
The next solar eclipse occurs on Monday, August 21. In preparation for this rare event, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have partnered to create the Solar Eclipse Across America webpage. You will find resources on this page relating to eclipse locations and timelines, safety tips while watching the eclipse, associated events, and much more.

IAU Individual Membership
The IAU is one of the few ICSU-related international scientific unions with individual members.  The application period for individual membership opens only once every three years. The next U.S. application period will open in mid-September and will close on February 2.  Keep watching this page for more information.  Additional information on individual membership in the IAU also can be found at 

U.S. National Committee for the IAU Annual Meeting
The U.S. National Committee for the IAU held its annual meeting on January 3, 2017 at the AAS meeting in Grapevine, Texas.  Major topics included preparations for the 2018  IAU General Assembly, the U.S. process for IAU individual membership, and support of young astronomers. 
Preparations Underway for IAU General Assembly, 2018
The IAU General Assembly (GA) takes place every three years.  Spread evenly over two weeks, the next GA will be held August 20-31, 2018 in Vienna, Austria.  The GA offers an opportunity for astronomers worldwide to meet together to discuss current and emerging topics in all fields of astronomy.  See for more information.
IAU Awarded the Prestigious Edinburgh Medal 
The 2016 Edinburgh Medal was awarded jointly to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and to Kevin Govender from IAU’s Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD).  The Edinburgh Medal is given each year “to men and women of science and technology whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity.”  The 2016 medal recognized “the way the OAD integrates the pursuit of scientific knowledge with social development for and with those most in need.” The OAD is hosted at the South African Astronomical Observatory in partnership with the National Research Foundation and the South African Department of Science and Technology.
According to the IAU press release, President Silvia Torres Peimbert stated; “I am delighted that the work of the IAU in the field of development has been recognised by the award of this medal. Astronomy is an exciting and stimulating pursuit and has a large part to play in inspiring the next generation of scientists from developing countries. I hope this award will highlight this important work and encourage others to contribute."
The IAU General Secretary, Piero Benvenuti, added: "IAU is proud of the prestigious recognition awarded to its Strategic Plan of Astronomy for Development and wishes to congratulate the visionary initiators of the Plan: George Miley, Robert Williams and Ian Corbett, as well as the South African National Research Foundation that, as IAU partner in the project, is effectively contributing to the success of the Plan.
Naming of Solar System Objects and Features
Since its inception in 1919, the IAU has had the sole responsibility for naming planetary and satellite objects and features.  Normally, the IAU handles this through its Working Groups, but occasionally the IAU invites the public to submit suggestions.  Such opportunities are announced on the IAU webpage at

Congratulations to Astronomers in IAU Leadership Roles
The USNC for IAU would like to extend its congratulations to the following U.S. scientists serving in IAU leadership roles during the 2014-2017 triennium:

Debra Elmegreen, Vice President, IAU
Chryssa Kouveliotou, President, Division D (High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics)
Nader Haghighipour, President, Division F (Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy)
Bruce Elmegreen, President (Interstellar Matter and Local Universe)
Lee Anne Wilson, Member, IAU Finance Committee
David Soderblom, Member, IAU Membership Committee

Membership of the USNC
Meeting Calendar
Activities and Events
Photo Gallery
American Astronomical Society
NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy
Astronomical Society of the Pacific

IAU International Webpage
Contact the USNC/IAU

Kathie Bailey, Director, BISO
Pam Gamble, Administrative Assistant

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number PHY-1441995. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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