Astronomy for Development

One of the strong legacies left by the 2009 International Year of Astronomy was the establishment of an Office of Astronomy for Development whose mission is to use astronomy to make the world a better place. The office was set up by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation. This page will highlight its actions in supporting universities and research; children and schools; and public outreach.

Astronomy has been an important driver for the development of advanced technology, such as the most sensitive detectors of light and radio waves and the fastest computers. The need to study the faintest objects requires sophisticated electronics  and extreme-precision adaptive optics as well as state-of-the-art engineering. Astronomy has also played an important role in the development of space technology that has opened up the Universe for study across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Modern optics and radio telescopes are among the most advanced machines ever built and are outstanding educational vehicles for introducing the latest complex technology

Office of Astronomy for Development

Mobilizing more volunteers and implementing new programs cannot be achieved without professional management and coordination. For this reason the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) was created in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation following the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). Through the office in Cape Town, projects that help to realize the vision of the IAU Strategic Plan have the opportunity to be reviewed and receive funding. Special projects of the OAD include AstroEDU, AstroVARSITY, AstroComputing, and AstroSense.

More information on the program and projects currently underway can be found at and in their 2014 brochure.