iau1503 — Press Release

IAU Press Conference
8 April 2015
Media Invitation for the XXIX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union

For the first two weeks of August, Hawaii will be the centre of the Universe when more than 3500 astronomers from at least 75 countries gather in Honolulu for the XXIX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Expected to be the largest professional astronomy conference since the Big Bang, the 3–14 August 2015 meeting will feature thousands of scientific presentations, numerous policy discussions, and several exciting media events. The IAU offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public information officers (PIOs); see details below.

At the General Assembly, held every three years, the world’s astronomers come together to advance the astronomical sciences through international collaboration. Participants at the General Assembly in Honolulu will address key topics in contemporary astronomy and assess the latest scientific progress in a number of specialised areas. With six symposia extending over several days, 22 multi-session focus meetings, nine IAU Division meetings, dozens of IAU Commission meetings, and the first-ever daily general poster sessions, the XXIX General Assembly’s scientific programme will be the broadest in the union’s history.

This will be the first General Assembly to be held in Hawaii and the first in the United States since 1988. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is the national host organisation, with vital local support from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute of Astronomy as well as observatories and other astronomy-related institutions throughout the Hawaiian islands.

Maunakea, on the Big Island, is well known today as the site of most of the northern hemisphere’s 8- to 10-metre telescopes. But the history of astronomy in Hawaii goes back to ancient times, when Polynesian sailors navigated among the widely separated islands of the Pacific Ocean primarily using their deep knowledge of the starry sky. The landmark Diamond Head volcano on Oahu, visible from Honolulu’s famed Waikiki Beach, was the site of an important 1910 expedition to photograph Halley’s Comet. Grote Reber did some of his early work in radio astronomy on Maui, which now hosts a major solar observatory atop Haleakala. And Maunakea itself, first recognised as a superior astronomical site by Gerard Kuiper half a century ago, will soon be home to the Thirty Meter Telescope, one of the next-generation optical–infrared extremely large telescopes slated to usher in the next great age of ground-based astronomy. Representatives of the media in Hawaii for the General Assembly will have an opportunity to visit Maunakea before science sessions begin; see details below.


  • Full Name: XXIX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union

  • Date: 3–14 August 2015

  • Venue address:
    Honolulu Convention Center
    1801 Kalakaua Ave.
    Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 USA

  • Purpose: In August 2015, astronomers from all around the globe will gather for two weeks at the IAU General Assembly at the Honolulu Convention Center, Oahu, Hawaii, to discuss and evaluate their most recent discoveries and observations, to make decisions on fundamental issues facing astronomy, and to organise international cooperation. At the same time, participants in the General Assembly will have an opportunity to experience the wide range of astronomical activities now taking place in the USA, and which include new projects, facilities and institutes.

  • Participants: The XXIX IAU General Assembly is expected to bring more than 3500 astronomers from all over the world to Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, to present and discuss the latest scientific breakthroughs and discoveries in the rapidly evolving scientific area of astronomy.

  • Travel and lodging info: The IAU has secured a block of rooms for our meeting attendees. Reservations must be made by 1 July 2015 to ensure the group rate. Hotel reservations can be made at http://astronomy2015.org/travel_lodging

  • Visa info: For information on visas for travel to the US, see http://astronomy2015.org/visa. To receive an invitation letter for your visa application or other purposes, please send an email to registration@astronomy2015.org.

  • Media trip to Maunakea: A special media-only tour to the summit of Maunakea will be arranged on 31 July 2015. Maunakea is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation as the atmosphere above the volcano is extremely dry and clear. More information and registration here.

Press Registration

Please register here.



Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621
Email: lars@eso.org

Raquel Yumi Shida
IAU Deputy Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 177
Cell: +49 151 5066 2673
Email: rshida@eso.org

Local press contacts

Roy Gal
University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
Cell: +1 301-728-8637
Email: rgal@ifa.hawaii.edu

Talia Ogliore
Tel: +1 808-956-4531
Cell: +1 626-390-8628
Email: togliore@hawaii.edu

Louise Good
University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
Cell: +1 808-381-2939
Email: good@ifa.hawaii.edu

Steve Jefferson
Keck Observatory
Email: sjefferson@keck.hawaii.edu

Peter Michaud
Gemini Observatory
Email: pmichaud@gemini.edu


IAU Press Conference