25 July 2002, Byurakan, Armenia


The First Annual Meeting of the Armenian Astronomical Society was held on July 25, 2002, in the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory Conference Hall, where a number of outstanding meetings had been organized, including 4 IAU Symposia and 1 IAU Colloquium in 2001. Mainly Byurakan Observatory astronomers participated in the meeting.


The meeting was opened by Haik Harutyunian, Chairman of the Organizing Committee. Then Areg Mickaelian, the ArAS President, presented a report on ArAS activities during 2001-2002.


ArAS was in fact founded in 1999; however, officially it was registered by the Ministry of Justice of Armenia in August 2001. 16 astronomers are the founding members. In September, 2001, ArAS was accepted in the European Astronomical Society as one of its affiliated societies. During September-December 2001, a number of new members appeared in ArAS, mostly from the Byurakan Observatory. Then A.Mickaelian and Y.Terzian made an announcement to all Armenian astronomers about ArAS, and a number of scientists from other than Armenia countries entered ArAS too. An article on the Armenian astronomy and ArAS activities was published in the EAS Newsletter at the end of 2001. Another information material on ArAS appeared in one of the most readable Armenian newsletters in May 2002.


The ArAS web page was prepared by S.Balayan and A.Mickaelian and is available since January 2002. It contains information on the ArAS foundation, its main goals and activities, members, the membership form, Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory and other astronomical institutions in Armenia. In February, 2002, an ArAS booklet was prepared and published with the main information to be circulated. Since March 2002, the ArAS Newsletter (ArASNews) is being published electronically and circulated among all ArAS members and other Armenian astronomers. The Editor is Tigran Magakian. 2 issues have been circulated already in March and July. Contacts have been established with the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Euro-Asian Astronomical Society (EAAS), Association of Armenian Scientists and Engineers in America. In May 2002, ArAS was recognized by the International Astronomical Olympic Committee (IOC) as the official representative of Armenia at IOC. Armen Oskanian is the ArAS responsible person at IOC. In June 2002, two Armenian astronomers were elected in the EAAS official bodies: A.Mickaelian entered the EAAS Council, and T.Magakian, the EAAS Scientific-Technical Committee.


At present, ArAS has 46 members from Armenia, USA, Germany and Spain. The Armenian institutions include the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO), Yerevan State University (YSU), Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI), and Garni Space Astronomy Institute. A biographical dictionary "Armenian Astronomers" is being prepared by A.Mickaelian with data on all late and present Armenian astronomers, as well as on astronomers who had represented and represent the Armenian astronomy. A global program for astronomical education in Armenia is being prepared to coordinate the astronomical knowledge at all levels by H.Harutyunian, the liaison of the IAU Commission No. 46 in Armenia. An astronomical educational TV program is being prepared too.


The scientific section of the ArAS Meeting lasted 3 hours, and 9 talks were presented on various aspects of astrophysics. At the afternoon, organizational affairs were discussed. A.Mickaelian presented the state of the ArAS' relations with the European Astronomical Society (EAS) and the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society (EAAS). The Executive Council of the EAAS had applied to ArAS to open an official representative body in Armenia. It was decided that ArAS will take the responsibilities of such body. A few changes in the Bye-Laws have been made in correspondence with the new Armenian legislation on Non-Governmental Organizations. There was a suggestion to enlarge the ArAS Executive Committee by electing Yervant Terzian (Cornell University, USA) and Haik Harutyunian (BAO, Armenia) in it. During the discussion, a suggestion was made to elect them both as ArAS Co-Presidents and have 3 Co-Presidents together with A.Mickaelian. A decision was made, however we need to have opinions of other ArAS members too to accept it finally.


A small banquet was organized at the end of the Meeting.


The ArAS First Annual Meeting was short and a few contributions were made. However, it was the first attempt, and it had a success.