The International Astronomical Union was founded in 1919. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Its individual members are professional astronomers from all over the world at the Ph.D. level and beyond, and active in professional research and education in astronomy. The scientific and educational activities of the IAU are organized by its 12 scientific Divisions and through its 40 specialized Commissions covering the full spectrum of Astronomy, along with its 75 Working and Program Groups. The long-term policy of the IAU is defined by the triennial General Assembly and implemented by the Executive Committee, while the day-to-day operations are directed by the IAU officers. The focal point of its activities is the IAU Secretariat, hosted by the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France.

The key activity of the IAU is the organization of scientific meetings. Commission F3 endeavors to sponsor triennial meetings, with the last one held in Nara, Japan, July 6-11, 2014.