History / Organization
The Astronomische Gesellschaft (AG) dates from the founding of the Vereinigte Astronomischen Gesellschaft at Lilienthal (near Bremen) by (amongst others) Franz Xaver von Zach (director of the observatory of Gotha) and Johann Hieronymus Schröter (founder of the observatory of Lilienthal) in 1800. The AG itself was enregistered in 1863, as an international society dedicated to the "advancement of science by supporting projects which require systematic cooperation of many people".
Important joint tasks were, e.g., the publication of the "Catalogue of the Society" featuring the position of all stars in the northern hemisphere up to the ninth magnitude and of the "History and literature of brightness variation of variable stars".
Very early already other astronomical and astrophysical subjects have been discussed, scientific aims and results have been presented, and worldwide contacts have been made at the regular meetings.
Already before World War I more than 400 members from all over the world united on the initiative of the Astronomische Gesellschaft. In the 1920s and 1930s the global tasks were increasingly transferred to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) . World War II caused the Astronomische Gesellschaft to suspend its activities. The society was re-established in Göttingen in 1947. In the late 1960s, members in what was then the German Democratic Republic were forced to resign membership of the AG, however, in March 1990, arrangements were made for new admission and re-admission.
Today, the AG has more than 800 members.
The Astronomische Gesellschaft is recognized as an affiliated society with the European Astronomical Society (EAS) since September 1995.
The General Assembly elects the Executive Committee consisting of seven honorary members: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Press Officer, and two additional members.
The general idea of the society's activities and tasks is described in the statutes of the AG.
- Organization of scientific meetings and conferences
- Publication of scientific literature
- Promotion of young astronomers
- Awarding of prizes in recognition of outstanding scientific achievements and of honorary membership
- Public outreach
- Promotion of astronomical education at schools