C3 – Commission C3 History of Astronomy


The broad goals of Commission C3 (History of Astronomy) are:

(1) To raise the historical consciousness of IAU members.

(2) To record and promote the history of the IAU.

(3) To encourage C3 members and others who are not members of the IAU to carry out research, where relevant through local, national and international collaborations.

(4) To encourage and support research in a wide range of fields within the general history of astronomy arena, not just widely-recognised mainstream areas but also ‘niche areas’ like Archaeoastronomy, Astronomical Archives, Ethnoastronomy, the Emergence of Space Astronomy, Historic Transits of Venus, the History of Astrophysics and Solar Physics, the History of Radio Astronomy; and Terra Astronomy and Applied Historical Astronomy,

(5) To establish a range of Working Groups and other groups in specialist areas of history of astronomy that can facilitate research by C3 members and others,

(6) To encourage C3 members and others to present their research findings at conferences, seminars and workshops, in book, journals and newsletters and on web sites.

(7) To liaise closely with IAU Commission C4 (World Heritage and Astronomy), in order to optimize international research on history of astronomy.

(8) To organise or collaborate in organising national and international conferences, seminars and workshops on different areas of history of astronomy.

(9) Where possible, to organise historical sessions at IAU General Assemblies.

(10) To liaise closely with the Commission on Ancient and Medieval Astronomy within the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology in order to promote the worldwide development of research and related activities in history of astronomy.

As well as the C3 Working Groups listed below, C3 already has, or is the process of forming, informal research groups of members and non-IAU members to encourage research in the following specialist areas: Arabic and Islamic Astronomy; Asian Astronomy; Astronomical Archives; Historical Observatories and Instruments; Johannes Kepler; Springer’s 3rd Edition of the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers; and Terra Astronomy and Applied Historical Astronomy.

Historical awareness helps to makes us all better astronomers and enriches our lives by enabling us to relate the struggles and triumphs of our predecessors to our own day-to-day challenges.

Commission Web Page

Commission Members (271)

Under Division

Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage

Commission Working Groups

Inter-Commission C1-C2-C3-C4 WG Astronomy in Culture (WGAC)
Inter-Commission C1-C3-C4 WG Ethnoastronomy and Intangible Astronomical Heritage
Inter-Commission B4-C3 WG Historical Radio Astronomy (Inter-Union IAU-URSI)

Christiaan L. Sterken

10975 Schelderode

NCA adherence: Belgium

Last updated:
February 29, 2024

Sara Jane Schechner

Harvard University
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments
Science Center 251c
1 Oxford Street
Cambridge 02138
Massachusetts (MA)
United States

Phone: +1 617-496-9542
Personal website: http://scholar.harvard.edu/saraschechner
Organization website: http://chsi.harvard.edu/

NCA adherence: United States

Last updated:
November 20, 2023

Wayne Orchiston

University of Southern Queensland
Astrophysics Group
Toowoomba 4350
Queensland (QLD)

Phone: +61 401 704 091

NCA adherence: Australia

Last updated:
November 20, 2023

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