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Saturday, 06 July 2024 11:41

SA to host the Astronomical Union General Assembly 2024.

Staff Reporter.

South Africa is set to become the centre of international astronomy as scientists from across the world gather for the XXXII (32nd) General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Cape Town. 

The event is scheduled to take place from 6 to 15 August 2024. 

According to the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), this will be the first time that an assembly of its kind will be held on African soil. 

The gathering is expected to bring together over 2 000 international astronomers to address key topics in contemporary astronomy and assess the latest scientific progress in several specialised areas.

Led by the African Astronomical Society (AfAS), the IAU General Assembly is held every three years, with each event advancing the astronomical sciences through international collaboration.  

"It also celebrates the continent's rich astronomical heritage and commitment to advancing the field," the department explained. 

The hybrid event is being hosted by the National Research Foundation (NRF), supported by the DSI.  

The academic programme will include over 2 000 presentations scheduled across more than 300 sessions.

The General Assembly will include six symposia and 12 multi-session focus meetings.  

There will also be poster sessions and prize lectures given by recipients of prestigious awards in astronomy.  

"Alongside international scientific impact, this meeting will have a societal impact that goes beyond national barriers in a continent-wide celebration of astronomy – Africa Astro Month."

Meanwhile, learners, scientists, students and members of the public will be brought together for knowledge exchange and inspiration. 

There will be limited opportunities for media to visit key astronomy sites, including the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, Northern Cape, and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), MeerKAT Radio Telescope and SKA-Mid Site in Carnarvon, Northern Cape.