The IAU has officially launched the celebration of its centennial — the IAU100 — with a special session at the IAU General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. The session marked the beginning of a worldwide celebration of the past century of astronomical discoveries with the central theme Under One Sky.
The celebration of the first century of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the IAU100 — was officially launched at the IAU General Assembly (GA) in Vienna, Austria. In several special sessions, the IAU President-elect Ewine van Dishoeck highlighted the activities and events that will take place throughout 2019 as part of the IAU100 celebration.
Some of the activities celebrating the centenary were launched at the GA. The Above and Beyond exhibition, commissioned within the framework of the IAU100, has been designed to showcase some of the most significant and surprising astronomical breakthroughs that have shaped science, technology, and culture over the last century. The GA also featured the Inspiring Stars travelling exhibition, created to highlight, support, and promote inclusive initiatives to encourage equality of participation in outreach and teaching, as well as at a professional level in the field of astronomy. Both exhibitions are open-source (released under Creative Commons) and can be adapted and translated for other venues.
As well as the above, the IAU100 global activities planned for the celebrations in 2019 include: a worldwide stargazing event from 18 to 21 January; establishing a global network of schools that are learning about topics such as gravitation and general relativity under the Einstein Schools banner; the celebration of the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February; the formation of a Dark Skies ambassador network that will raise awareness of the importance of fighting light pollution throughout the year; an itinerant exhibition to highlight world initiatives that address the concept of inclusion using astronomy; commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing in July 2019; actions to build teachers’ competence in scientific topics and teaching techniques; and a new edition of the Name ExoWorlds competition that will provide all nations in the world with the opportunity to name an exoplanet.
One of the highlights of the anniversary will be the special IAU100: 100 Years Under One Sky event that will take place on 11 and 12 April 2019 at the Brussels Palace of the Academies, where the initial IAU convention was signed in 1919. The event will feature dedicated sessions with high-level representatives and prominent astronomers, the focus on astronomy for diplomacy and peace, development, education, outreach, arts, and its involvement with the high-tech industry.
With the assistance of so far almost 100 National Committees, the IAU100 activities will have a global impact. The activities within the framework of the celebration will be planned so that people of all ages and backgrounds will be able to gain an appreciation of the central role of astronomy for education, development, outreach, and diplomacy. All members of the global astronomy community — professional astronomers and interested members of the public alike — are invited to propose their astronomy events to be showcased in the IAU100 Event Programme, provided that they align with the IAU100 Goals. Those who wish to submit their astronomy events or to learn more about the IAU100 celebrations can visit the IAU100 website.
The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. 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.
Jorge Rivero González
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