Press Office

Media Advisory

In August this year, Cape Town, South Africa will become the international capital of astronomy as scientists from across the world gather for the XXXII General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and the first such meeting ever held in Africa. The IAU is delighted to invite media representatives to this historic event, which will take place from 6 to 15 August 2024. 

The IAU General Assembly is held every three years, with each event bringing together astronomers from around the world to advance the astronomical sciences through international collaboration. Africa’s very first IAU General Assembly celebrates the continent’s rich astronomical heritage and commitment to advancing the field.

There will be opportunities for a limited number of journalists to visit key astronomy sites in South Africa, including the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, Northern Cape, and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), MeerKAT Radio Telescope and SKA-Mid Site in Carnarvon, Northern Cape.

The academic programme includes over 2000 presentations scheduled across more than 300 sessions at this IAU General Assembly. Participants in the General Assembly in Cape Town will address key topics in contemporary astronomy and assess the latest scientific progress in a number of specialised areas.

The General Assembly will include six symposia and 12 multi-session focus meetings, as well as further dedicated meetings organised by the IAU Divisions, Offices, Commissions and Working Groups. There will also be poster sessions and prize lectures given by recipients of prestigious awards in astronomy. A detailed programme is available on the XXXII General Assembly website.

The XXXII General Assembly will take place in the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), a leading venue nestled at the foot of the Cape’s most prominent and iconic geological feature and one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature: Table Mountain. The meeting is hosted by The South African National Research Foundation (NRF), supported by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the African Astronomical Society (AfAS), which proudly leads this initiative.

Journalists and public information officers are invited to sign up for the conference via the pre-registration form. The General Assembly Press Office will be in operation on all weekdays.

The meeting will be made accessible worldwide through a comprehensive hybrid and open-access format, as well as an innovative, family-friendly conference environment to support participants with familial responsibilities. More information about accessibility is available on the conference website.

The public outreach programme includes a “Journey into Space” with the astronaut and artist Dr. Sian Proctor, as well as school visits and virtual sessions, offering learners and educators the chance to engage directly with leading astronomers.

On Saturday 9 August, there will be a Women’s Day event, with the public encouraged to participate in activities both in person at the conference centre and online. On Sunday 10 August, the V&A Waterfront will become a vibrant hub of astronomy outreach, with mobile planetariums, talks, and interactive sessions, as well as telescope viewing after sunset.

Throughout the conference, aspiring science communicators will broadcast highlights from the meeting through a pop-up online radio station called Radio Astro. Beyond the conference, the celebration of astronomy will continue with activities throughout August for Africa Astro Month.

Attendees of the General Assembly will have the opportunity to participate in outreach activities, including visiting schools to deliver talks, role-modelling sessions, practical demonstrations, and more. Additionally, in Cape Town, various school groups will visit the conference venue, as well as local science centres, planetariums, and observatories. The full outreach and educational programme can be found on the conference website.


Name: XXXII General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union

Dates: 6-15 August 2024

Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre, Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town, 8001

Press Office & Press Conferences: Five press conferences are expected to take place during the meeting. A dedicated Press Team will be onsite to provide local support to all journalists and media professionals reporting on the event.

Purpose: In August 2024 astronomers from all around the globe will gather for two weeks for the IAU General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa to discuss and evaluate their most recent discoveries and observations, to make decisions on fundamental issues facing astronomy, and to stimulate international cooperation. Throughout the General Assembly, participants will also have an opportunity to experience a wide range of cultural activities in South Africa.

Participants: The IAU XXXII General Assembly is expected to bring more than 2000 astronomers from around the world to Cape Town, both in person and remotely, to present and discuss the latest scientific breakthroughs and discoveries in the rapidly evolving scientific field of astronomy.

National hosts: The South African National Research Foundation (NRF), supported by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the African Astronomical Society (AfAS).

Travel and Accommodation Information: See the accommodation web page and the travel web page

Press registration: Please complete the pre-registration form. Once you have been approved by the IAU Press Office, you will receive the official registration form to complete.

More Information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12,000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world’s largest professional body for astronomers.


IAU General Assembly XXXII web page

Media pre-registration form:


IAU GA 2024 Media Contact:

Anja Fourie

Media Liaison

Guido Schwarz

IAU Press Officer

Cell +41 78 707 19 42


Laura Hiscott

IAU Deputy Press Officer


Daniel Cunnama

IAU GA 2024 National Organising Committee Communications



A – Aerial View of Cape Town

Aerial View of Cape Town, location of the XXXII IAU General Assembly.

Credit: Marlin Clark/Unsplash

B –  The Cape Town International Convention Centre, venue for the XXXII IAU General Assembly.

Credit: CTICC


C  –  OAD Projects – Molo Mhlaba

(TIFF) –


Code of Conduct

To be added:

Press Kit, Press Registration (incl. eligibility), Press Office, Press Conferences, Press Interviews, Press Tour (if such a thing), Gallery, Resources for Presenters, Embargo Policy