The task force on Astronomy for the Public (Task Force 3) drives activities related to communicating astronomy with the public. This task force uses astronomy to inspire members of the public with the beauty and scale of the universe, while satisfying a deep cultural attachment that almost all societies have with astronomical objects. With the incredible success of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, and the very significant contribution by the amateur astronomy community, this task force has a very strong foundation to build on. Examples of activities are stargazing sessions; public lectures; creation and support of amateur astronomy clubs; etc.

Volunteers are always needed. Please contact us or fill in the online form if you can contribute.

Current Members

  1. Megan Argo (Commission 55/UK)
  2. Sze-leung Cheung (OAO/HK)
  3. Thilina Heenatigala (Sri Lanka)
  4. Brooke Simmons (UK)
  5. Carolina Odman (Co-Chair – South Africa/EU)
  6. German Puerta (Colombia)
  7. Kumiko S. Usuda (Co-chair – Japan/USA)
  8. Kimberly Arcand (US)

Previous Members:

Sze-leung Cheung (OAO) is the IAU International Outreach Coordinator heading the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach hosted at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan at Tokyo. He is responsible for connecting the professional astronomers with the public and conduct a number of union-wide events like the International Year of Light and the exoplanets naming.
Lars Lindberg Christensen(IAU/ESO) is a science communication specialist heading the ESO education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD) in Munich, Germany. He is responsible for public outreach and education for the La Silla-Paranal Observatory, for ESO’s part of ALMA (the largest and most expensive ground-based astronomical project), for the European Extremely Large Telescope (the largest optical telescope in planning), for ESA’s part of the Hubble Space Telescope and for the International Astronomical Union Press Office.
Thilina Heenatigala (Sri Lanka) is an astronomy communicator with an emphasis on education. He is affiliated with Galileo Teacher Traning Program as the communication manager and Universe Awarenes as the assistant editor of IAU astroEDU project.
Sarah Kendrew (UK) is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford. She works on a number of next-generation infrared instrumentation projects, and her research uses data from Zooniverse citizen science projects.
Carolina Ödman-Govender studied physics engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology before completing a Ph.D. in theoretical cosmology at the University of Cambridge. She has consulted for UNESCO and tutored at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa. After a post-doc in Italy, she joined the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands to develop UNAWE, an international astronomy education programme for which she was awarded the 2012 Science Magazine Prize for Online Resources in Education. In 2010, she became an SKA research fellow at the South African Astronomical Observatory. In 2011, she became the director of academic development of the AIMS Next Einstein Initiative. Since 2012 she is a proud mum and works as a volunteer on various science for development projects. She is also lead scientist in a South African startup company working in the finance industry.
German Puerta (Colombia) is an economist and amateur astronomer. Former President of the Astronomy Network in Colombia, RAC. Extensive experience in astronomy outreach in Colombia for young audiences and adults. Science communicator and star parties and public events promoter. Autor of several books to let the public know and learn about astronomy. Now Scientific Director of the Planetarium of Bogota.
Ian Robson (UK) is the past Director of the JCMT and UKIRT telescopes in Hawaii; Director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Director Technology Dept of STFC. First President of C55; Chair of C55 Working Group for CAP Conferences; Member of IYA2009 International Organising Committee; UK SPOC for IYA2009. Research activity in submillimetre astronomy and active galaxies.
Sarah Reed (UK) is a Press Officer at the University of Leeds. Her work history includes positions in science journalism, public relations and astronomy outreach. Prior to her current role, Sarah was the Coordinator of the newly established IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach.
Kumiko Usuda-Sato (Japan) is a Japanese astronomer. In 15 years when she lived in Hawaii, USA, she did many outreach activities with other staff members of the observatories on Maunakea and with the local community: visiting classrooms, doing contests for K-12 students, and so on. After she moved to Tokyo, Japan, she is a member of the museum planning team at NAOJ. She also spends her time to touch the Universe with people with disability.
Nelson Ziping Zhang (China) is a member of Chinese Astronomy Society. He has been working for Beijing Planetarium for 10 years. His current effort focuses mostly on astronomy Olympiads, teaching astronomy to school children, and organizing public outreach activities. The OAD-East Asia office is currently housed in Beijing Planetarium.