The Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) was formed in 1966 as the organisation of professional astronomers in Australia. It was incorporated in the ACT in 1993. The operation of the Society is governed by its Constitution and By-laws and administered by its Council. The purposes of the ASA are described in its Statement of Purpose.
Association Number : A2224
Australian Business Number (ABN) : 37 660 297 848
What is the ASA?
The Society has adopted a structure in which topical interest groups may be formed, known as Chapters. Currently there are four Chapters:
- Australian National Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (ANITA), a virtual institute which aims to raise the profile of Australian theoretical astrophysics, and
- Early Career Researchers (ECR), aiming to support the needs and development of Early Career Researchers in the Australian astronomy community.
- Education and Public Outreach Chapter (EPOC), serving to advance the level of public awareness of the excitement of astronomy.
- Inclusion, Diversity, Equity in Astronomy (IDEA) (formerly ‘Women in Astronomy’), to monitor and promote the status of women working in astronomy in Australia and address broader diversity issues in our community.
The History of the ASA
The formation of the Society has been described in a journal paper by ASA member Nick Lomb: How Astronomers Focused the Scope of their Discussions: The Formation of the Astronomical Society of Australia The paper is in the Historical Records of Australian Science which should be accessible to most local ASA members through their institutional library. If not, a preprint version can be found at USQ preprint server.
The history of the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA) has also been described in a journal paper by Nick Lomb: Scientific Society Journals: the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia The paper is also in the Historical Records of Australian Science which should be accessible to most local ASA members through their institutional library. If not, a preprint version can be found at USQ preprint server.
The ASA in Australian Astronomy
The ASA is one of three national organisations in Australian astronomy.
The ASA provides a community forum for Australian astronomers and represents their interests individually and collectively. The Society fosters Australian astronomy through regular scientific meetings, the publication of a scientific journal, and workshops and activities to support students and early-career researchers.
The National Committee for Astronomy (NCA) is a committee of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS). The AAS is Australia’s link with the International Council for Science (ICSU) and its constituent bodies and committees, in particular the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The NCA also carries out regular discipline reviews (most recently the 2005 Astronomy Decadal Plan and 2011 Mid-Term Review) and addresses other issues of community-wide significance.
Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL) is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee whose members are Australian universities and research organisations involved in astronomical research. AAL manages programs providing access to astronomy infrastructure and is guided in its activities by the Astronomy Decadal Plan. Unlike the NCA, AAL is a legal entity and can hold or disperse funds on behalf of the astronomy community.
The Society provides a representative on:
- the National Committee for Astronomy (NCA) of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).
- the Standards Australia committee LG2 (Road Lighting) and LG10 (Obtrusive Lighting)
- the committee administering the Donovan Astronomical Trust.
The ASA is Trustee of the Foundation for the Advancement of Astronomy (FAA). The FAA is a tax-deductible Foundation intended to enhance the ASA’s efforts to promote Astronomy and related fields in Australia, and to recognise and support excellence in those fields. The purposes of the FAA are very broadly defined to allow the support of prizes, scholarships, research and facilities.
The Society is a member of:
- Science & Technology Australia (formerly FASTS) which aims to represent the interests of scientists and technologists throughout Australia. The ASA sends representatives to the annual Science meets Parliament, organised by Science & Technology Australia.
- the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) which aims to to preserve and protect the nighttime environment.
The Society is a signatory to the Washington Charter that acknowledges the responsibility of astronomers to effectively communicate astronomy to the public for the benefit of all.
The Society also maintains a list of Australian Astronomical Societies. One function of this list is as a reference for NSW Police for the purposes of regulation surrounding hand-held laser pointers (see the ASA’s Astronomy Factsheet No.22 on laser pointers). Listing implies no endorsement of any Society or its activities.
The ASA web pages are primarily intended to provide information for the professional astronomy community. The ASA also provides the Australian Astronomy web site which provides information on astronomy in Australia for the amateur astronomy community and the general public.
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA)
The ASA publishes an on-line refereed journal, the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA). Immediate on-line access is a privilege of most classes of ASA membership, or may be purchased by libraries and other organisations. All papers are archived at the NASA ADS archive. There are no pages charges. PASA is published by Cambridge University Press.
IAU 2003 – XXVth General Assembly (GA) of the IAU
Through the NCA and ASA, Australian astronomers accepted an invitation by the IAU to host the XXVth General Assembly (GA) of the IAU between July 13 and 26, 2003. Many ASA members participated in all aspects of the organisation of the General Assembly which was extremely succesful, presenting Australian astronomy to the visiting astronomers and the public.
The ASA Council
The business of the Society is conducted by a Council elected by a ballot (if necessary) of the members every two years. The Council also invites one student member, elected by the students every year, to attend meetings as an observer, to represent the interests Australian postgraduate students at the meeting and report back to the student members.
A/Prof. Cathryn Trott
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Bentley, WA 6845
A/Prof. John O'Byrne
SECRETARY (contact for membership issues)
Sydney Institute for Astronomy
School of Physics, The University of Sydney NSW 2006
Ph : 61-2-9351-3184 Fax: 61-2-9351-7726
OTHER COUNCIL POSITIONS
Dr Michael Brown
MEDIA & OUTREACH COORDINATOR
School of Physics
Ph: 61-3-9905-4498 Fax: 61-3-9905-3637
Prof. Melanie Johnston-Hollitt
CHAIR, Editorial Board for PASA
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Curtin University/ICRAR Bentley, WA 6845
Ph : 61-
Dr Barbara Catinella
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
The University of Western Australia
A/Prof. Daniel Zucker
Macquarie University / Australian Astronomical Observatory
Past Council members (to July 2017) are listed in the following files:
- Immediate Past Presidents
- PASA Editors
- Prizes and Awards Coordinators
- Media and Outreach Coordinators
- General Committee members
- Student representatives (Council observer position)
- Donovan Astronomical Trust representatives (no longer a Council position)
- By name
- By years of service
- Public Officers (not a Council position)
A list of all Honorary Fellows of the Society to date is available.