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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions on various astronomical issues of an international character are frequently addressed to the IAU Secretariat and/or the General Secretary. When particular questions are asked several times, we will attempt to make brief explanations directly available from this page. At the moment, information on the following issues is available.

  1. The IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams disseminates urgent news on astronomical discoveries.
    NB: Any reports on presumed astronomical discoveries (supernovae etc.) should be directed to the Telegram Bureau, NOT to the IAU itself or the Webmaster of this site!
  2. Buying Star Names or Naming Stars after People, or 'Selling' Property on Other Planets
  3. The Status of Pluto: See the IAU Press Release of Feb 03 1999 and the Informational Page by Division III
    NOTE: The Press Release expresses the position of the IAU regarding the status of Pluto. The IAU considers the discussion closed with this statement and does not intend to reopen it in the foreseeable future.
  4. Research on Near Earth Objects (Asteroids and Comets)
  5. Planets Around Other Stars
  6. IAU Policy on Environmental Challenges to Astronomy; also Press Release 02/99 from IAU Symposium 196: Preservation of the Astronomical Sky
  7. Spelling of Names of Astronomical Objects
  8. Total Solar Eclipse 2001 (Link to comprehensive NASA Report)

The IAU occasionally receives requests for information on potential commercial suppliers of instruments or equipment, books, star charts, etc. We regret that, as an international organization, we are not in a position to recommend particular suppliers in individual countries. Persons seeking information of this nature are advised to contact national amateur or professional societies or consult popular astronomical journals in the country in question, who will be well placed to provide advice adapted to local circumstances.

Page maintained by iauweb@iau.org, last modified on 2001-03-26.