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 (268)

Under Division

Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage

Commission Working Groups

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

Wayne Orchiston

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

Phone: +61 401 704 091
Email: wayneorchistongmailcom

NCA adherence: Australia

Last updated:
May 6, 2019

Christiaan L. Sterken

Molenstraat 63
9820 Merelbeke

Phone: +32 (0)93 627223
Email: csterkenvubacbe
Personal website: http://we.vub.ac.be/en/physics-department/who-who
Organization website: http://we.vub.ac.be/en/physics-department/who-who

NCA adherence: Belgium

Last updated:
February 17, 2021

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
Email: schechnfasharvardedu
Personal website: http://scholar.harvard.edu/saraschechner
Organization website: http://chsi.harvard.edu/

NCA adherence: United States

Last updated:
February 14, 2021

Xiaochun Sun

University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
History of Science,School of Humanities
55 Zhongguancun East Road
Beijing 100190
China, Nanjing

Phone: +86 10 57552505
Email 1: xcsunucasaccn
Email 2: mxcsun163com
Organization website: http://www.ucas.ac.cn/

NCA adherence: China, Nanjing

Last updated:
March 8, 2021

Organizing Committee

Search Scientific Bodies


IAU Strategic Plan 2020–2030

Strategic Plan

IAU Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Symposia and Meetings


IAU General Assembly 2022



How to Become a Member

IAU Catalyst

Latest Catalyst

IAU e-Newsletter
Volume 2021 n° 5

Latest e-Newsletter

Subscribe to the e-Newsletter


IAU Office of Astronomy for Development

Office for Astronomy Development

IAU Office for Young Astronomers

Office for Young Astronomers

IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach

Office for Astronomy Outreach

IAU Office of Astronomy for Education

Office of Astronomy for Education

International School for Young Astronomers

International School for Young Astronomers

WG Small Bodies Nomenclature Bulletins

WG Small Bodies Nomenclature Bulletins