mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Honolulu to Host Largest Astronomy Meeting Ever in 2015

Maintained by LG

For immediate release
September 22, 2009


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

Dr. Rick Fienberg
Press Officer, AAS
+1 202-328-2010 x116

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

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


High-Resolution Photos:


thumbnail HCC
Fig. 1   21.4 Mb TIFF


Mauna Kea Observatories thumbnail
Fig. 2  3.8 Mb TIFF (CMYK)
aerial view of Hawaii Convention Center at night
Aerial view of the Hawaii Conveniton Center at night (credit: David Cornwell).

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. 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.

Additional information:

International Astronomical Union:

American Astronomical Society:

Hawaii Convention Center:


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

Figure 2: The telescopes on Mauna Kea draw astronomers to Hawaii. (credit: Photo © 1998 by Richard J. Wainscoat. All Rights Reserved.) Permission granted to use with articles resulting from this press release. For any other use, you must get permission from Dr. Wainscoat.

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.