What is the International Astronomical Union (IAU)?

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The International Astronomical Union recently confirmed the existence of three currently unnamed moons — one around Uranus and two orbiting Neptune.

About International Astronomical Union (IAU)

  • The IAU is a senior body governing international professional astronomical activities worldwide.
  • It was established in 1919 as the first of a series of international unions for the advancement of specific branches of science.
  • Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education, and development, through international cooperation.
  • The IAU is made up of various divisions, commissions, and working groups representing the various areas of astronomical research, teaching, and other endeavors.
  • Membership:
    • Its individual members are professional astronomers from all over the world, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, who are active in professional research, education, and outreach in astronomy. 
    • The IAU also has junior members.
    • IAU membership spans 92 countries. Out of those countries, 85 are National Members.
  • IAU activities range from the definition of fundamental astronomical and dynamical constants and unambiguous astronomical nomenclature, rapid dissemination of new discoveries, organization of international observing campaigns, and promotion of educational activities in astronomy to early informal discussions of possible future international large-scale facilities.
  • It is the only organization recognized professionally for the naming of astronomical bodies, which it does solely on the basis of merit, history, or discoverer’s privilege. 
  • The IAU holds a general assembly every three years in varying parts of the world at which professional astronomers meet to discuss research, new cooperative ventures, and similar matters of professional interest.
  • The IAU also works to promote research, education, and public outreach activities in astronomy for the public.
  • Headquarters: Paris, France.

Q1) What is Astrophysics?

Astrophysics is a branch of space science that applies the laws of physics and chemistry to seek to understand the universe and our place in it. The field explores topics such as the birth, life and death of stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae and other objects in the universe.

Source: 3 new moons discovered around Uranus and Neptune will be named after Shakespeare characters and Greek goddesses