contact   site map  

Commissions and Working Groups


Commission 5, Documentation and Astronomical Data

President: Masatoshi Ohishi
Vice President: Robert J. Hanisch

Has responsibility for certain kinds of archiving and, especially, consistency in recording observational data and the objects they pertain to. It hosts in particular the FITS Working Group which is the international control authority for the FITS data format.
Commission web site: . Recommendations for nomenclature can be found at:
And the form for registering a new acronym at:

Commission 6, Astronomical Telegrams

President: Nicolay Samus,
Vice President: Hitoshi Yamaoka,

Has responsibility for rapid dissemination of new astronomical discoveries and other information with time value. The "telegrams" are now largely electronic, though postcard circulars are still available by subscription. Many of the questions they receive deal with nomenclature within the solar system and for small bodies like comets and asteroids. Information on these can be found at and

Commission 14, Atomic and Molecular Data

President: Glenn Wahlgren,
Vice President: Ewine F. van Dishoeck,

Has responsibility for high standards for astronomical wavelengths, transition probabilities, and other laboratory data essential for analyzing astronomical spectra. Their webpage is

Commission 41, History of Astronomy

President: Clive L. N. Ruggles,
Vice President: Rajesh Kochhar,

Deals with all aspects of astronomical history and heritage. Is closely associated with the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science. Its web address is

Commission 46, Astronomy Education and Development

President: Rosa M. Ros,
Vice President: John B. Hearnshaw,

Is concerned with both formal education and public outreach and also with encouraging the development of astronomy in countries where it is not yet well established. The website is

Commission 50, Protection of Existing and Potential Observatory Sites

President: Wim van Driel,
Vice President: Vacant

Has responsibility for attempting to prevent compromise of ground based
sites for both optical and radio astronomy. The Commission website is
And the Working Group on control of light pollution can be found at

Commission 55, Communicating Astronomy with the Public
President: Dennis Crabtree,
Vice President: Lars Lindberg Christensen,

The Mission statement of this WG is A) To encourage and enable a much larger fraction of the astronomical community to take an active role in explaining what we do (and why) to our fellow citizens. B) To act as an international, impartial coordinating entity that furthers the recognition of outreach and public communication on all levels in astronomy. C) To encourage international collaborations on outreach and public communication. D) To endorse standards, best practices and requirements for public communication. Read more at:

Inter-Division Working Groups

Division X / Division XII Historic Radio Astronomy
The Working Group on Historic Radio Astronomy is a joint one between Division XII and Division X (Radio Astronomy). A recent report of its activities appears in Journal of Astronomical Heritage and History, vol. 7 pp. 53-56 (2004), and they are planning Working Group sessions for the 2006 General Assembly. The chair is Wayne Orchiston of Australia (, and the WG includes members from every country within which radio astronomy was established by about 1955.