(Photo: David Iliff; CC BY-SA 3.0)

2nd Announcement

Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2020 Opens Abstract and Grant Submission

Communicating Astronomy for a better world: environment, culture and peace

On 21–25 September 2020, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, will host the world’s largest conference on astronomy communication: Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2020 (CAP 2020). Professionals from science communication, informal education, planetaria and science centres, as well as professional and amateur astronomers, journalists and creative types, are invited to attend the conference to exchange ideas and best practices. Under the central theme of “Communicating Astronomy for a better world: environment, culture and peace”, the Scientific Organising Committee (SOC) is inviting proposals for oral presentations, posters, and workshops to be submitted online by 15 March 2020.

The topics for the conference are:

  1. Current Challenges in Astronomy Communication;
  2. Best Practices in Public Outreach;
  3. Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Empathy in Communicating Astronomy;
  4. The Media’s Role in Astronomy Communication;
  5. Using Multimedia, Social Media, Immersive Environments and other Technologies for Public Engagement with Astronomy;
  6. Astronomy and Climate Change;
  7. Astronomy Communication to Promote Peace;
  8. The Role of Astronomy in Bridging Cultures;
  9. Communicating Astronomy in the Asia–Pacific Region.

Participants will also have the opportunity to add their own topics for discussion during the event’s “unconference” slots.

Networking activities will encourage learning from peers, identifying potential partners, and strengthening the links between Asia–Pacific and international science communicators.

The SOC is also planning two special sessions:

10. The legacy of the IAU100 Celebrations

11. Communicating Astronomy: The IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030

The International Astronomical Union will offer a small number of grants or fee waivers to selected participants from around the world.

Important dates

31 January 2020

  • Abstract submission opens;
  • IAU Grant application opens;

15 March 2020

  • Abstract submission deadline;
  • Grant application deadline;

10 May 2020

  • Grant winners announcement: Speakers and Poster Presenters notified.

The CAP 2020 conference is organised by the IAU Commission C2: Communicating Astronomy with the Public, in cooperation with Macquarie University.

To stay up to date with the latest information for CAP 2020, please join our CAP Conference mailing list, follow our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, or the hashtag #CAP2020.

More Information

International Astronomical Union (IAU) / Commission C2 — Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) is a think/do-tank that convenes the astronomy communication community and seeds initiatives to explore new ways to communicate astronomy with the public.


For queries regarding the scientific content of the conference or international media requests, please email:

cap2020 [at]

First announcement

CAP 2020 Conference to Be Hosted in Sydney

Macquarie University has been selected to host the next Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference in September 2020.

The next edition of the Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference will be held from 21 to 25 September 2020 in Sydney, Australia. It will be hosted by Macquarie University, located in the northern metropolitan area of Sydney. 

The CAP conference, the largest international event linking astronomy and science communication, is a platform for facilitating the exchange of ideas and best practices in science communication, outreach, and related aspects. Previous conferences have been attended by professionals from science communication, informal education, planetariums and science centres, and journalism as well as professional and amateur astronomers. The 2018 CAP conference in Fukuoka, Japan, was the largest ever, with 450 participants from 53 countries.

CAP conferences are organised under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union’s Commission C2: Communicating Astronomy with the Public. The Commission aims to encourage and enable the astronomical community to take an active role in the public communication of astronomy. It encourages international collaborations; endorses standards, best practices and requirements; and furthers the recognition of outreach and public communication at all levels of astronomy.

A further announcement will be made when registration is opened in early December 2019.


Oana Sandu
CAP Working Group Co-Chair
Chair, CAP Conference 2020 Scientific Organising Committee
+49 89 320 069 65

Richard de Grijs
Chair, CAP Conference 2020 Local Organising Committee
Macquarie University
+61 2 9850 8317 (W) / +61 466 336 588 (M)

Ramasamy Venugopal
CAP Working Group Co-Chair

About the IAU:

The International Astronomical Union (IAU, brings together more than 13,500 astronomers from over 100 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education, and development, through international cooperation. The IAU is celebrating its centennial in 2019.

About Macquarie University:

Established in 1964, Macquarie University ( began as a bold experiment in higher education, built to break from traditions: to be distinctive, progressive, and transformational. Recognised internationally, Macquarie University is consistently ranked in the top 2% of universities in the world and in the top 10 in Australia.

Open Call for Hosting the Communicating Astronomy With the Public Conference 2020

The next Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference is scheduled for May 2020. The location will be established following an open call for proposals, which is officially launched today. The deadline for applications is 15 October 2018.

The CAP Conference series is organised by Commission C2 of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) with the goal of facilitating the exchange of ideas and best practices in the field of astronomy and space communication, as well as informal education.

CAP is an excellent opportunity to stimulate local astronomy communication. The conference helps strengthen the local community of professionals by connecting them to the global network of astronomy communicators and giving them access to the latest trends, lessons learnt from other parts of the globe and ongoing projects they could tap into.

Pre-selection stage

Institutions interested in uplifting astronomy communication in their region by hosting CAP2020 should answer the initial bid questionnaire below and return it by email to and with the subject CAP2020:

Bid Questionnaire

Download the Questionnaire

  1. Who is the main institution bidding for CAP2020?
  2. List other local partnering institutions, if available
  3. What is your proposed date for the conference? Are you flexible with the date?
  4. At what venue are you planning on hosting CAP2020?
  5. How many rooms are available for the conference? List number of rooms and capacity
  6. What is your target in terms of number of participants?
  7. What is the maximum venue capacity?
  8. What conference fees are you estimating to have?
  9. Please give us some examples of previous similar events you have organised
  10. Please send us a short motivation for why you wish to host CAP2020 (maximum 400 words)

The CAP Working Group is interested in supporting astronomy communication in as many areas of the globe as possible. Therefore, preference will be given to regions where the CAP Conference has never been organised before [1]. However, this will not be the only deciding factor.

Applicants selected to go into the second stage of evaluation will be notified by end of October

Final selection stage

A second, more detailed proposal will be requested from the finalists. This proposal might include proof of partnerships initiated, proof of local support from authorities etc. The deadline for the second proposal is planned for 15 December 2018.

For further details do not hesitate to contact the Working Group Chairs.

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 10 000 professional astronomers from almost 100 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of 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.



[1] CAP Conference has been organised in the following places: Washington DC (USA), Munich (Germany), Athens (Greece), Cape Town (South Africa), Beijing (China), Warsaw (Poland), Medellin (Colombia), Fukuoka (Japan)

Contact details

Sze-leung Cheung
IAU International Outreach Coordinator / CAP Conferences Working Group chair
Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81 422 34 3896

Oana Sandu
ESO Community Coordinator & Strategy Officer / Vice President of Commission C2 Communicating Astronomy with the Public
Tel: +49 89 320 069 65