Letters of Intent received in 2017

LoI 2019-1984
The amateur-professional connection in astronomy

Date: 27 April 2019 to 2 May 2019
Category: Non-GA Symposium
Location: Shiraz, Iran, Islamic Rep of
Contact: John Hearnshaw (john.hearnshaw@canterbury.ac.nz)
Coordinating division: Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage
Other divisions: Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage
Co-Chairs of SOC: John Hearnshaw (University of Canterbury)
Moein Mosleh (University of Shiraz)
Chair of LOC: Moein Mosleh (University of Shiraz)



o Astronomy outreach to attract young people to amateur astronomy
o Astronomy education in schools and universities
o Research that can be undertaken by amateur astronomers that is useful for professional astronomers
o Opportunities for amateur astronomers to advance to professional careers through university qualifications
o Techniques of astrophotography as a means of promoting astronomy
o Other useful research by amateurs, such as occultations of stars by solar system bodies, planetary transits, asteroid and comet astrometry, nova and supernova searches, observations of variable stars, binary star astrometry, microlensing observations
o The role of astronomy in attracting young people to science.
o Amateur telescope making
o Cultural and historical impacts of astronomy
o Public engagement in science via networks (e.g., Zooniverse, Galaxy Zoo, etc.)



Iran has about 30,000 amateur astronomers in some 200 societies or associations, and this provides a very lively environment for their activities. Amateur astronomy in Iran is one of the most dynamic amateur groupings in the world today, and involves a great range of hands-on activities and organized projects. At the same time, professional astronomy in Iran is now growing at a greater rate than in the past, thanks in part to the development of the Iranian National Observatory (3.4-m telescope) on Mt Gargash in central Iran. There are some 40 individual members of the IAU in Iran at about 15 different universities or research institutes.

This symposium is designed to foster and promote the interactions between the Iranian professional community and the large number of very active amateurs in Iran. Many of the amateurs would like to progress to professional astronomy with suitable training, so highlighting the career paths into professional astronomy both in Iran and overseas for young astronomers will be one important goal of this symposium.

We are confident of attracting 1000 participants to this symposium, with at least 750 coming from Iran and 250 from neighbouring countries such as India, Russia, China, the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere.

Shiraz University has a venue which is able to accommodate 1000 participants and this has been booked for the dates indicated in April-May 2019. There is an international airport in Shiraz, thus facilitating easy access.

A half-day visit to the ancient city of Persepolis is planned to take place during the symposium.

It is noted that Iran first joined the IAU in 1969, but there has never been an IAU meeting in the country.