IAU General Assembly 2018 Focus Meeting 14 (FM14)

IAU’s role on global astronomy outreach, the latest challenges and bridging different communities


August 23, 2018


Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC):

Sze-leung Cheung (co-chair) - Tokyo, Japan
William Waller (co-chair) - Rockport, USA
Lina Canas - Tokyo, Japan
Chenzhou Cui - Beijing, China Nanjing
Samir Dhurde - Pune, India
Richard Tresch Fienberg - Watertown, USA
Andrew Fraknoi - Los Altos Hills, USA
Beatriz Garcia - Godoy Cruz, Argentina
Kevin Govender - Cape Town, South Africa
Thilina Heenatigala - Colombo, Sri Lanka
Oana Sandu - Bucharest, Romania
Mike Simmons - Calabasas, USA
Mark SubbaRao - Chicago, USA
Sylvie Vauclair -  Toulouse, France

General information about IAU GA 2018:

Please visit the GA2018 website.

Scientific Rational:

The 2018 IAU General Assembly in Vienna provides an important opportunity for research astronomers and outreach professionals to jointly consider the IAU’s role in global astronomy outreach.  Our goal is to enable and coordinate outreach for the greatest good worldwide.  We will share what is already being done and discuss what we could do better going forward.  All participants in the GA are welcome to join in the discussions.

Meeting Structure:

There will be four oral sessions on Thursday, 23 August, each session lasting 1.5 hours.  The sessions will each feature a mix of invited and contributed talks, some of which will be in the form of panel discussions.  All participants will be charged with recommending ways the IAU can better advance astronomy outreach worldwide.  There will also be a dedicated poster session on Friday, 24 August.

Download FM14 Poster

Draft Programme (Last update: Apr 26, 2018) :

August 23

08:30 – 10:00
Session 1 -
Bridging the Astronomy Research and Outreach Communities – Recent Highlights, Emerging Collaborations, Best Practices and Support Structures

08:30-08:45 INVITED TALK: Virtual Observatory for education Giulia Iafrate (Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, Italy)
08:45-09:00 INVITED TALK: Transforming Research (and Public Engagement) through Citizen Science Samantha Blickhan (Zooniverse, USA)
09:00-09:15 INVITED TALK: The PACA Project Ecology: Development Strategy for Successful Pro-Am Observing Campaigns Yanamandra-Fisher Padma (Space Science Institute, Rancho Cucamonga, USA)
Pro-am collaboration in Occitanie, outreach and consequences Vauclair Sylvie (IRAP, France)
09:25-09:35 AAS Nova and Astrobites as Bridges Between Astronomy Communities Susanna Kohler (American Astronomical Society, USA)
09:35-09:45 Reporting live on astronomical research — what have we learnt? Oana Sandu (ESO, Germany)
09:45-10:00 Flash Talks (Part 1)**


10:30 - 12:00
Session 2 - Communicating Astronomy in our Changing World


10:30-10:40 INVITED TALK: Conclusions from the Communicating Astronomy with the Public Conference 2018 Oana Sandu (ESO, Germany)

Panel Discussion: Effectively Navigating the Media Landscape

  • Astronews: scientific journalism in developing countries
  • Effectively Navigating the Media Landscape
Lars Lindberg Christensen, Rick Fienberg, Thiago Goncalves
11:05-11:25 INVITED TALK: Effectively Coordinating Museums and Planetariums Worldwide Mark SubbaRao (Adler Planetarium, Chicago, USA)

Panel Discussion: Supporting the Underserved and Dispossessed

  • Reaching the Most Underserved and Dispossessed through Astronomy
  • RAS200: Sky & Earth: Engaging diverse partners and diverse audiences with astronomy: a new approach to public engagement
  • Astronomy outreach for supporting the underserved and dispossessed
Mike Simmons, Olayinka Fagbemiro, Robert Massey, Ramasamy Vengopal
11:50-12:00 Astronomy and host communities - considerations of science, culture, environment and relationships with host communities Gordon Squires (TMT, USA)


13:30 - 15:00
Session 3 - The IAU National Outreach Contacts (NOC) Network – Coordinating and Catalyzing Astronomy Outreach Worldwide


13:30-13:45 Panel Discussion: NOC activities in Asian and Pacific Region

13:45-14:00 Panel Discussion: NOC activities in Middle East and African Region
14:00-14:15 Panel Discussion: NOC activities in Latin American Region


Panel Discussion: NOC activities in North American and European Region

14:30-15:00 Panel Discussion: NOCs - Finding Common Purpose and Implementing Coordinated Action


15:30 - 17:00
Session 4 - Outreach Action and Advocacy in the Context of IAU’s 2020-2030 Strategic Plan (in coordination with the IAU Executive Committee, Division C, OAO, and OAD)


15:30-15:45 INVITED TALK: The IAU 2020-2030 Strategic Plan: outreach connecting the world Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden Observatory, Leiden)
15:45-15:55 Astronomy Translation Network (ATN) Yukiko Shibata (NAOJ / IAU OAO)
15:55-16:05 Addressing a billion different needs - lessons from India Niruj Ramanujam (National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, India)
16:05-16:11 Flash Talks (Part 2)**

Panel Discussion: Strategic plan 2020-2030

  • Outreach Action and Advocacy in the Context of IAU’s 2020-2030 Strategic Plan
  • IAU Strategic Plan Synergies

16:35-17:00 Panel Discussion: Remaining topics going forward

**Flash Talks (3 minutes each)

Part 1 (09:45-10:00)

  • The new age of big data astronomy digital assets!(Joseph Diamond)
  • Bridging the gap: Astronomy outreach in the corporate world (Gustavo Rojas)
  • Cape Town’s Iziko Planetarium & Digital Dome (Lucia Marchetti)
  • Data-driven Astronomy Education and Public Outreach (Chenzhou Cui)
  • Unistellar eVscopes: Smart, Portable And Easy-To-Use Telescopes For Exploration, Interactive Learning, And Citizen Astronomy (Franck Marchis)

Part 2 (16:05-16:11)

  • Globe at Night: Citizen-Science Assessing the Darkness of our Skies (Connie Walker)
  • Dark Skies Rangers: a flagship to bridge the gap between schools and communities (Nuno Gomes)



August 24

Poster session

Dates and Deadlines

The 30th IAU General Assembly will take place from August 20-31, 2018.

Sept. 1, 2017 Opening of registration, abstract and grant submission
Jan. 31, 2018 Deadline of early-bird registration and deadline of exhibition reservation
Feb. 28, 2018 Deadline of regular abstract submission for oral and poster contributions; Deadline of IAU grant submission
May 1, 2018 Announcement of final programs of Symposia, Focus Meetings and Division Meetings
May 31, 2018 Deadline of abstract submission for posters
June 30, 2018 Deadline of regular registration

Registration and abstract submission:

Please register and submit your abstract on GA2018 site.

Deadline for oral contribution: Feb 28, 2018
Deadline for poster contribution: May 31, 2018

IAU Travel Grant:

If you intend to submit a grant application, you have to complete the followings steps
Step 1: Complete the registration form and select "Bank transfer" as payment method
Step 2: Submit the abstract form
Step 3: From the email of abstract confirmation you will receive a link to fill in the grant application form
More information on the IAU GA2018 page.


Please contact Sze-leung Cheung (cheungszeleung@oao.iau.org) and Bill Waller (williamhwaller@gmail.com).

Organized and supported by