22 September 2009

Honolulu to Host Largest Astronomy Meeting Ever in 2015

AAS Press Release

September 22, 2009

Dr. Rick Fienberg
Press Officer, American Astronomical Society
+1 202-328-2020 x116

Lars Lindberg Christensen
Press Officer, International Astronomical Union
+49 89-3200-6761

Dr. David Sanders
Astronomer, Institute for Astronomy
+1 808-956-5055

Sukil Suh
Communications Executive, The Limtiaco Company
(for the Hawaii Convention Center)
+1 808-535-9099

The world’s largest meeting of professional astronomers is coming to the Hawaii Convention Center in 2015. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) will hold its triennial General Assembly August 3-14, 2015, in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. A vote at this year’s General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, selected Hawaii as the location of the 2015 meeting against very strong competition from two other sites.

The announcement was made jointly by the IAU, the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA), and the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC). Staff members of the IfA, AAS, and HCC worked hard to convince the IAU Executive Committee that Honolulu was the best choice for the 2015 meeting. “The selection of Honolulu is a reflection of Hawaii’s importance in the astronomical world,” said IfA Director Rolf Kudritzki. Hawaii is home to two collections of state-of-the-art astronomical observatories, one on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island and the other atop Haleakala on Maui.

The IAU was founded in 1919 to promote astronomy through international cooperation. Its more than 10,000 individual members are professional, Ph.D.-holding astronomers from all over the world who are active in astronomy research and education. In addition, the IAU collaborates with other scientific organizations worldwide, including the AAS, the major society of professional astronomers in North America.

The AAS organizes four large and several small astronomy meetings every year. “Our team is familiar with the particular logistical needs and demands of the astronomical community,” says Dr. Kevin B. Marvel, AAS Executive Officer, “and we have a deep appreciation of the role that large international meetings play in advancing astronomy research and education.”

“The Pacific Rim has had an explosion of astronomical activity in the past two decades, with the focus of a great deal of that activity on the observatories in Hawaii. With its excellent infrastructure Honolulu is a natural for an international meeting like ours,” says IAU President Robert E. Williams.

IAU General Assemblies are held every three years. The XXVII General Assembly held last month in Rio de Janeiro attracted more than 2,200 registered participants, exhibitors, and science journalists as well as additional accompanying family members. The next one will take place in August 2012 in Beijing, China. The August 2015 meeting in Hawaii is expected to attract some 4,000 attendees and will likely include the largest astronomy-related exhibition ever held at an IAU General Assembly.


Photos of the Hawaii Convention Center and Mauna Kea Observatory are available from the Institute for Astronomy.

Caption 1: Aerial View of the Hawaii Convention Center at night. (Credit: David Cornwell.)

Caption 2: The telescopes on Mauna Kea draw astronomers to Hawaii from all over the world. (Credit: © 1998 Richard J. Wainscoat. All Rights Reserved.) Permission is granted to use with articles resulting from this press release. For any other use, you must get permission from Dr. Wainscoat (+1 808-956-8429).

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