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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy. Headquartered in Paris, France, it acts as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, etc.) and any surface features on them, and is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The main aim of the IAU is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU maintains friendly relations with organizations that include amateur astronomers in their membership.

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