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February 2017

Dear colleague,

The New Year started with a wealth of interesting news and initiatives for our Union.

I have now received and analysed the responses to the questionnaire that I proposed to the National Astronomical Committees about the possible introduction of the new category of IAU Junior Member, which could be open to astronomers in the last year of their PhD studies or in their early post-doc career. About 55% of the National Committees replied to the questionnaire and the overwhelming majority of them (98%) were in favour. I will now discuss the way forward with the Executive Committee during its next meeting (Pune, 10–12 May, 2017), but the possibility of having a new cohort of Junior Members at the XXX GA in Vienna is becoming a reality.

Last year, the IAU participated in the submission of a proposal to the ICSU Call for the 2016-19 Grant Programme. The proposal, entitled A global approach to the gender gap in Mathematical and Natural Sciences: How to measure it, how to reduce it?, was led by the IMU (International Mathematical Union) and by the IUPAP (International Union of Pure and Applied Physics), with the IAU as co-proposer. I am happy to communicate that the proposal is among the three winners and our Women in Astronomy Working Group, led by Francesca Primas, is already at work defining our active participation.

The IAU, responding to many suggestions by the participants in its Symposia and Focus Meeting, has signed an addendum to the current contract with Cambridge University Press (CUP) about the publication of the Proceedings of the IAU scientific meetings. CUP will continue to publish the Proceedings, both in paper and electronic form, but the participants in the IAU meetings will no longer be obliged to buy a paper copy; they will have immediate access to the online electronic version and, if they also wish to have a paper copy, can order and buy it separately at a reduced price. The editing cost, to be included in the registration fee of the IAU meetings, is therefore reduced to £10 (for 2017-18). I would like to stress that the publication and distribution of the IAU Proceedings to libraries will continue as usual.

The IAU Secretariat has recently visited the Local Organising Committee of the XXX General Assembly and has discussed many aspects of the organisation. We are happy to report that the planning is well under control and we can look forward to a very pleasant and successful General Assembly in the beautiful city of Vienna!

On a less positive note, the IAU was concerned by a new restriction to the free circulation of scientists that has recently been added to the existing ones in several countries. We are not in a position to judge the merit of any of these restrictions, but we are nonetheless opposed to the negative effects that these restrictions have on the universal progress of science. We do not intend to alter any existing IAU procedures for the planning and implementation of our scientific activities, but we wish to take concrete measures to mitigate the problems that those restrictions cause for scientists, especially to young researchers. I will propose to the Executive Committee the appointment of a dedicated Task Force with the aim of monitoring specific cases and proposing possible ad hoc solutions.

Piero Benvenuti
IAU General Secretary

P.S. Due to a technical problem, this Newsletter did not reached all the IAU Members in its first delivery. It is now re-sent to all. Our apologies for the inconvenience




  IAU Press Releases


17 Minor Planets Named by NameExoWorlds Contest Winners

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  IAU Public Announcements


Results of the 2016 Annual Call for Proposals

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Astronomy Outreach Newsletter 2017 #26 (January #2)

24 January 2017: The Astronomy Outreach Newsletter 2017 #26 is now online. It is produced by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach and brings to the general public the latest information about events ...

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Astronomy Outreach Newsletter 2017 #25 (January #1)

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OAD Yearbook 2016

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Astronomy Outreach Newsletter 2016 #24 (December #2)

5 January 2017: The Astronomy Outreach Newsletter 2016 #24 is now online. It is produced by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach and brings to the general public the latest information about events ...

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CAPjournal Issue 21 Now Available — The IAU’s Journal on Communicating Astronomy with the Public

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Astronomy Outreach Newsletter 2016 #23 (December #1)

9 December 2016: The Astronomy Outreach Newsletter 2016 #23 is now online. It is produced by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach and brings to the general public the latest information about events ...

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Highlights

IAU General Assembly 2018 IAU General Assembly 2018

IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Office for Astronomy Outreach



Scientific Dates & Deadlines




Administrative & Commission Reform Dates & Deadlines

27 Feb - 1 Mar 2017
OM_2017: Officers Meeting 2017

30 Jun 2017
Annual fee invoice: Annual fee - 1st reminder

13 Oct 2017
Annual fee invoice: Annual fee - 2nd reminder

20 - 31 Aug 2018
XXX IAU General Assembly




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