IB 107 is online

19 January 2011

The Information Bulletin 107 (January 2011) is online. Download the PDF file (2.4 MB) on this link.

2011 Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation Fellow appointed

3 January 2011

The 2011 Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation Fellow is Dr. Jaime E. Forero-Romero, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Cosmology Group at the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, Germany. He will take up the Fellowship to work at UC Berkeley. 

More information:

The solar eclipse of 4 January 2011

21 December 2010

On the morning of Tuesday, 4 January 2011, an eclipse of the Sun will be widely visible across Europe and as far east as India. People in Western Europe will find the Sun already eclipsed as the day begins, with the eclipse lasting about 80 minutes more. Even at a maximum, the eclipse will be only partial, with some of the Sun always visible. Because the Sun is too bright to look at safely, special solar filters or projection methods should always be used to protect the eyes.

Prof. Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in the United States, the Chair ...

New IAU Working Group on Near Earth Objects

7 December 2010

A new Working Group on Near Earth Objects was recently created under Division III (Planetary Systems Sciences). Members and contact information are available on:

Adriaan Blaauw (1914–2010)

3 December 2010

The IAU greatly regrets to announce the death of Prof.Dr. Adriaan Blaauw, on December 1st. More information is available on:

Director of Office for Astronomy Development (OAD) appointed

3 December 2010

Kevindran Govender, Manager of the SALT Collateral Benefits Programme at the South African Astronomical Observatory, Cape Town, has been appointed Director of the IAU Office for Astronomy Development.  Kevin has built the SCBD into a visible and successful group, using astronomy for development and for advancing the economy, technology, and society of Africa. Kevin played an important role in several global IYA activities and was a major contributor in the development of the IAU Decadal Strategic Plan “Astronomy for the Developing World” which the OAD is responsible for leading and coordinating.

More information on

The IAU Strategic Plan is available on

New SOFA software release includes Time Scale transformations

1 December 2010

SOFA (Standards of Fundamental Astronomy) is an IAU Service that operates under Division 1 (Fundamental Astronomy). It has developed a set of software routines that implement official IAU algorithms for fundamental-astronomy computations.

The total number of routines is 186, comprising 131 astronomy routines supported by 55 vector/matrix routines. The software incorporates the IAU (2006) precession model that came into force at the start of 2009. There is also a "cookbook" that introduces the SOFA routines associated with precession-nutation and Earth rotation.

A new release of the software was made on 2010 December 01. The most significant change is the introduction of 18 new routines (available in both Fortran and C) to support time scale transformations together with a "cookbook" on Time Scale and Calendar Tools.

The Web address of the SOFA home page is:

Further information on the new release is available at:

Brian Marsden (1937–2010)

19 November 2010

The IAU greatly regrets to announce the death of Brian Marsden, Director Emeritus of the Minor Planet Center, on November 18th.

Brian Marsden was a distinguished Director of the Minor Planet Center for some 30 years, stepping down in 2006.  He gave outstanding service to the IAU and astronomy over many years and his presence will be sorely missed.  A full obituary can be found at

Professor Silvia Torres-Peimbert wins the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science

12 November 2010

The L'Oréal-UNESCO prizes "For Women in Science" are awarded each year, successively in different fields of science, to five women scientists of the five continents: Africa and Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

The Latin American laureate of the 13th Annual L’Oréal-UNESCO 2011 "For Women in Science Awards" is Professor Emeritus Silvia Torres-Peimbert from the Institute of Astronomy, Mexico City University (UNAM), Mexico. She was awarded the prize for her work on the chemical composition of nebulae, which is fundamental to our understanding of the origin of the universe.

A native of Mexico, Silvia Torres-Peimbert obtained her PhD at the University of California Berkeley, USA. She then became Professor in the Faculty of Sciences and the Institute of Astronomy at UNAM. Today she is Emeritus Professor and since 2009 has been Coordinator of Physical, Mathematical and Engineering Sciences at the university. She is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, and is a past Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union.

More information

Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 269 online

4 November 2010

Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 269
"Galileo's Medicean Moons: their impact on 400 years of discovery"
Eds. Cesare Barbieri, Marcello Coradini, Supriya Chakrabarti
Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780-521-19556-0

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