The International Astronomical Union (IAU) was founded in 1919. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Its individual members are professional astronomers all over the World, at the Ph.D. level or beyond and active in professional research and education in astronomy. However, the IAU maintains friendly relations also with organizations that include amateur astronomers in their membership. Adhering Countries are generally those with a significant level of professional astronomy. With now over 8,300 individual memmbers and 66 Adhering Countries, the IAU plays a pivotal role in promoting and coordinating worldwide cooperation in astronomy. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and any surface features on them.
The scientific and educational activities of the IAU are organised by its 11 Scientific Divisions and, through them, its 40 more specialised Commissions covering the full spectrum of astronomy. The long-term policy of the IAU is defined by the General Assembly and implemented by the Executive Committee, while day-to-day operations are directed by the IAU Officers. The focal point of its activities is the permanent IAU Secretariat, located at Institut d'Astrophysique in Paris, France.
The IAU home page gives you instant access to the full spectrum of activities of the IAU, from statutes and history to individual Members, Commissions, Divisions, Officers and the Secretariat. It has been designed to provide easy access to this information for visitors all over the world, primarily for IAU members, but not for promotion or entertainment. It therefore contains a minimum of graphics which would slow down access to the site. The design and maintenance of the page is based largely on voluntary manpower - our permanent staff consisting of two persons! - so not all your favourite features may be included (yet).