The International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has been in existence for over 100 years, is the world’s largest body of professional astronomers. Every three years it holds a General Assembly, bringing together astronomers from around the world. The next meeting will take place for the first time on the African continent in 2024 in Cape Town.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) is the official host organisation, with strong support from the Department of Science and Innovation and the African Astronomical Society. It is envisaged that the 2024 General Assembly would have a large participation and will remain as a legacy for future IAU triennial meetings. In order to realise this vision, the NOC plans to implement world-wide access for all through both in-person and virtual attendance, as well as free live streaming for the general public. To cater for those astronomers and students who may not attend in-person and have no virtual registration, a call has been opened for open satellite centres where they could follow the proceedings through one host providing virtual access to several people through a single virtual registration.

This call seeks to establish satellite viewing centres with facilities to enable virtual attendance in one place for a large number of professional astronomers, amateur astronomers and students from any part of the world.

Satellite Viewing Centre

A satellite centre will be a focal point for following proceedings of the General Assembly on a central virtual platform where astronomers and the general public can gather to join the IAU GA virtually as a group. The host of a satellite centre will be any person belonging to a registered institute, university, school, science centre, association/society or regional office of the IAU (OAD, OAO, OAE, OYA) or institution of similar standing, from any part of the globe. Among the tasks of the satellite centre will be:

  • Host a virtual platform/infrastructure to enable airing of live streaming/remote interactions in one location (computer/s, screen and good internet, etc) in order to enable the IAU GA to reach a wider audience
  • Facilitate discussions within the audience at the centre about the talks in order to ensure engagement on the subject matter
  • Facilitate live interaction with the in-person session chairs where necessary
  • Coordinate streaming of the relevant sessions (plenary, symposia, focus meetings, division days, IAU offices, etc) according to the local demand
  • Serve as the virtual attendee for a group

Full report of the event not later than 30th September 2024.


AfAS and the GA2024 Organising Committee will provide one (or more, depending on the proposal) virtual registration waiver/s for each satellite viewing centre. A volunteer will be assigned to each centre to assist with the facilitation of the event.


Proposals for hosting of satellite centres are invited from regional offices, astronomical societies, National Outreach Committees, higher education and research institutions, NAECs, science centres and bodies of similar standing dealing with astronomy.

Proposals should be submitted online via the application form which includes:

  • Specification of the geographical region (country, town, coverage) that the centre will serve.
  • Description of the host organisation and key individuals, including the details of the individual/s to whom the free virtual registration will be assigned.
  • Contact details and bio of the lead applicant and names and qualifications of the proposing team
  • Description of available infrastructure that could be accessed to fulfil the tasks of the centre
  • Outline of how the centre will promote the event and how the visitors to the centre will be admitted
  • Outline of the security and health guidelines to be put in place to ensure safety for all.
  • Endorsement by hosting institution for use of the venue and facilities.
  • Estimates of daily visitors to the centre.

Submission and timeline

Proposals should be submitted via the online form here by 15th July 2024.

Feedback will
be provided by 25th July 2024. Queries can be directed to

Selection process

A panel, consisting of nominated members of the Africa Focus Committee, AfAS Executive Committee and the GA2024 NOC will evaluate the proposals on the basis of the proposing organisation’s ability to fulfil the tasks mentioned above, including their understanding of the visions of AfAS and GA2024. Preference will naturally be given to organizations which are part of a consortium and which have received the commitment and support of others in their proposed region. The host must be a registered legal entity.