IAU General Assembly 2018 Focus Meeting 14 (FM14)

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

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

Programme (Last update: August 14, 2018) :

August 22 Wednesday (18:30-20:30)
Reception and Social Event for FM14 at Museum of Natural History

No transportation is provided, participants are expected to travel to the Museum by themselves.

[Public event, no registration is needed]

16:30 - 17:30 (Public event independent of FM14) e-Light Pollution exhibition and Light Pollution Public Talk
17:30 - 18:30 (Public event independent of FM14) Saving the Dark documentary screening 1 (60 seats)
18:30 - 19:30 (Public event independent of FM14) Saving the Dark documentary screening 2 (60 seats)

[FM14 event for participants, registration is needed]

18:30 - 19:30 Reception (Drinks will be served)
19:30 - 20:30 Museum guided tour (The museum has the world largest collection of meteorites)

Please register here for the FM14 reception and social event.


August 23 Thursday

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


13:30-13:50 Panel Discussion: NOC activities in Asian and Pacific Region

13:50-14:10 Panel Discussion: NOC activities in Middle East and African Region

Panel Discussion: NOC activities in American and European Region

14:40-15:00 Panel Discussion: NOCs - Finding Common Purpose and Implementing Coordinated Action


15:30 - 16:30
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 Globe at Night: Citizen-Science Assessing the Darkness of our Skies Connie Walker (NOAO, USA)
16:05-16:08 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
  • Remaining topics going forward

16:30 - 17:30 Poster Session (Note for the time change)
Posters can be mounted during Aug 20 - 23. All posters has to be unmounted by Aug 23 17:30.

The poster presenters are expected to standby at their posters to interact with each other.

List of posters and abstracts


**Flash Talks (3 minutes each)

Part 1 (09:45-10:00)

  • The new age of big data astronomy digital assets!(Joseph Diamond)
  • 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 (16:05-16:08)

  • Dark Skies Rangers: a flagship to bridge the gap between schools and communities (Nuno Gomes)




  • The IAU will compile all Focus Meeting into a volume "Astronomy in Focus" to be published by the Cambridge University Press
  • Detail instruction can be find here and here
  • Download the LaTeX template file here for Focus Meeting
  • For those who are unfamiliar with LaTeX, You can download the free TexMaker software to use, simply open the above template and replace the text in the source code.
  • Suggested number of pages
    • Invited talks - 6 pages (available in black and white print and color electronic version)
    • Panel discussion summary - 2 pages (available in black and white print and color electronic version)
    • Contributed talks - 4 pages (available in color electronic version)
    • Poster contributions - 2 pages (available in color electronic version)
  • In case your paper print in black and white, please make sure all the photos or graphs display correctly in black and white format
  • Submission deadline Sep 30 - please understand this is a hard deadline as the SOCs need to edit your papers in order to match the deadline set by IAU
  • Please submit your files in both LaTeX and PDF format, and graphics (if any) using this form

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