The Birth of the IAU (1919–1929)

  • Johannes Andersen
  • David Baneke
  • Claus Madsen


The stars and planets are the same everywhere; we can just see different sections of the sky depending on our location on Earth. For that reason, astronomers have always wanted to compare data and insights. Eclipse predictions, ephemerides and star catalogues were sometimes kept secret, but more often they circulated, for others to use and improve. This quantitative type of data is relatively easily shared across borders. Astronomers themselves travelled internationally too: Tycho Brahe’s observatory on the island of Hven attracted many young astronomers to Denmark at the end of the sixteenth century. Some stayed for a few years and brought Tycho’s innovative methods and instrument designs along with them as they returned home. A few years later, in 1608–1609, news of the new telescope, and Galileo’s ground-breaking discoveries made with it, spread quickly.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Andersen
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Baneke
    • 3
  • Claus Madsen
    • 4
  1. 1.Dark Cosmology Centre, The Niels Bohr InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Stellar Astrophysics Centre, Department of Physics and AstronomyAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.History and Philosophy of ScienceUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Institute of Physics and AstronomyAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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