Today, 22 August 2018, the Inspiring Stars exhibition was opened to the public at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), being held at the Austria Center Vienna. Inspiring Stars is a travelling international exhibition, led by the IAU and supported by the American Astronomical Society, that is designed to highlight, support, and promote inclusive initiatives to address equity and equality of participation in the field of astronomy.
For two weeks in August 2018, Vienna has become the world capital of astronomy; more than 3 000 researchers and astronomy communicators from 89 countries have descended on Vienna in order to participate in the triennial General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). One of the highlights of this first Austrian General Assembly was the inauguration of Inspiring Stars — the IAU inclusive world exhibition, which was held earlier today at the Austria Center Vienna.
Inspiring Stars is a travelling international exhibition that allows audiences to experience astronomy as a universal science that celebrates, encourages, reinforces, and addresses diversity in both education and teaching, as well as at a professional level. In collaboration with organisations that cater to people with disabilities or impairments, the IAU has initiated the Inspiring Stars exhibition as part of its continuing effort to promote inclusion and equal participation in the science of astronomy.
The inauguration of the exhibition featured a rich programme of talks and panels that allowed distinguished invited speakers to share their experiences as scientists with disabilities or impairments with the participants of the General Assembly and members of the public. Visitors to the Inspiring Stars exhibition were able to engage with interactive displays that showcase various resources for multisensorial exploration in astronomy from around the world. These include tactile planets, books, and posters (Spain, USA), a multisensorial optical telescope (USA), a tactile telescope model (Japan), software that translates astronomical data into audio (Argentina and Australia), and many more.
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.
Maria Rosaria D’Antonio
Head of IAU Administration
Tel: +33 1 43 25 83 58
Wanda Liz Diaz Merced
South African Astronomical Observatory / Office of Astronomy for Development
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27 0214470025
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach/ National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621