The Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS) is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that works on the development of astronomy in Armenia, promotion of collaboration between the Armenian and foreign astronomical institutions, strengthening contacts and collaboration between the Armenian and other astronomers, support of astronomical education and popularization of science in Armenia. ArAS was created in 1999 and officially registered in 2001. It is one of the Affiliated Societies of EAS. ArAS has some 90 members both from Armenia and a number of other countries and may in fact be considered as an international organization. The main activities of ArAS are: providing detailed information on Byurakan Observatory, Armenian and world astronomy through its webpage, Electronic Newsletters, Annual Meetings, Byurakan International Summer Schools for Young Astronomers, ArAS Annual Prize for Young Astronomers, creation and maintenance of a Database of Armenian Astronomers and Calendar of Astronomical Events, educational activities, and current work of ArAS Administration. One of the most important ArAS initiatives was the organization of the European Annual Astronomical Meeting (JENAM-2007), the largest scientific event ever held in Armenia. ArAS develops scientific journalism in Armenia through its regular press-releases.


The idea to establish an Armenian Astronomical Society was born in early 1980s when it was known already that a number of Armenian astronomers were working out of Armenia and a need to keep contacts between them and for collaboration was obvious. Vahé Petrosian and Yervant Terzian were among the initiators of this idea. However, the real society was not created. Later on, in the middle of 1990s, Areg Mickaelian in Byurakan started to collect information on all Armenian astronomers all over the world to prepare the foundation of the society. A few years later, after discussions with many people, including the IAU officials, a meeting was held to discuss this initiative. The decision to found the Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS) was made on June 22, 1999 in Byurakan at the meeting of 16 astronomers. An initiative group was elected to prepare suggestions on the ArAS activities, work out its bye-laws, membership form, etc. Areg Mickaelian, Haik Harutyunian, Elena Nikoghossian, Susanna Hakopian, and Tigran Magakian made up this group. Y.Terzian took an active part in this process: the main principles of the Society were discussed during the visit of A.Mickaelian to Cornell University in September 1999. However, the official registration of the Society came 2 years later. The Ministry of Justice of Armenia approved the Bye-laws and registered ArAS as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) on August 29, 2001 (registration document No. 03A 051334).

On September 13, 2001 at the European Astronomical Society (EAS) Council Meeting, ArAS was officially recognized by the EAS, becoming one of its at that time 21 Affiliated Society Members. Thus we also have international recognition. At present (15.01.2009) we have 66 members in the Society; we project that the membership will increase to some 100 members.


The main goals of the Armenian Astronomical Society, according to its Bye-Laws are:

·  promotion of astronomy,

·  promotion of collaboration between all astronomical institutions in Armenia,

·  promotion of contacts and collaboration between the Armenian and other astronomers all over the world,

·  development of the astronomical education and knowledge in Armenia.


The main activities of ArAS are:

Enlargement of the membership so that ArAS becomes a really All-Armenian organization. Astronomers of any nationality may enter ArAS. There is also a status of Honorary members, people who have made great contribution to science and to Armenian astronomy;

Establishment of several ArAS branches (beside the Armenian branch itself), particularly in North America, Europe, and the FSU (former Soviet Union), where most of the Armenian astronomers live and work (10-20 in each);

Publication of an Electronic Newsletter (1 issue per 3 months) starting with 2002. They give information on different Armenian scientists, Armenia itself, as well as publish some scientific abstracts and short papers;

Publication of a book or DVD "Dictionary of the Armenian Astronomy";

Organization of Annual Meetings in Armenia with participation of as many Armenian astronomers as possible. The scientific program is open to all subjects;

Collaboration with other Armenian and International organizations (IAU, EAS, EAAS, Armenian Physical Society, All-Armenian Scientific Society, Society of Armenian Scientists and Engineers, etc.);

Award of the ArAS Annual Prize for young astronomers and establishment of Annual Prizes for outstanding astronomers: one for work in theoretical astrophysics (Ambartsumian Prize), and one for work in observational astrophysics (Markarian Prize).