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IAU Commission 54: Optical & Infrared Interferometry

PRESIDENT - Gerard van Belle
Lowell Observatory
1400 West Mars Hill Road
Flagstaff, AZ

Phone: +1 928 233 3207
VICE PRESIDENT - Denis Mourard
Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur, FIZEAU
Avenue Copernic
F-06130 Grasse

Phone: +33 04
Email: denis.mourard(@)
Armstrong, J. Thomas
Ireland, Michael
Lopez, Bruno
Perraut, Karine
ten Brummelaar, Theo
Thiébaut, Éric
Wittkowski, Markus
Young, John
SECRETARY - Fabien Malbet
Université Joseph Fourier / Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
IPAG - Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble
BP 53
38041 Grenoble cedex 9

Phone: +33 476 63 58 33
Email: Fabien.Malbet(@)
The above is the Commission organization for 2012-2015


The triennial report of Commission 54 has been completed. A preprint is available below.
  • Commission 54 Triennial Report: 2009-2012
    S. T. Ridgway, G. van Belle, D. Mourard, G. Perrin, G. Duvert, R. Genzel, C. Haniff, C. Hummel, P. Lawson, J. Monnier, P. Tuthill, F. Vakili
    Transactions IAU XXVIIIA, Reports on Astronomy 2009-2012
    Ian Corbett, ed. (2012)
The 2012 Interferometry Imaging Beauty Contest has been announced. It is being Chaired by Fabien Baron. Results from the contest will be reported on 5 July 2012 at the SPIE Conference on Optical and Infrared Interferometry III SPIE Conf. 8445, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Mission Statement

The Commission on Optical/Infrared Interferometry serves to coordinate international collaborations on scientific and technical matters relating to long-baseline optical and infrared interferometry. As a commission within Division IX (Optical and Infrared Techniques) its focus is to establish scientific and technical standards that facilitate the future growth of the field.
The Commission promotes the science of interferometry through collaborations with individual science commissions within the IAU, most particularly with the Commissions on Astrometry (C8), Double and Multiple Stars (C26), Variable Stars (C27), and Theory of Stellar Astmospheres (C36).
The Commission continues the work begun through the Working Group on Optical/IR Interferometry, which established the Optical Interferometry Data Exchange format (published in 2005) and its supporting software, and continues the series of optical/IR interferometry imaging contests (held in June 2004 and May 2006). The website of the Commission is hosted at the Optical Long Baseline Interferometry News (OLBIN). This website and its associated Email Forum exist to further the interests of the optical interferometry community and goals of Commission 54.

IAU Commission 54 Prizes

Working Groups

The work of the Commission takes place primarily within the Commission's Working Groups. These working groups may include:
  • Working Group on Interferometry Data Standards
  • Working Group on Imaging Algorithms
  • Working Group on Calibrator Stars
  • Working Group on Intensity Interferometry

Working Group on Intererometry Data Standards

Working Group Website | Data Standard
The near-term goal of the working group is to develop enhancements to the OIFITS data exchange standard, in particular: 1) Standardise and incorporate existing practice into the standard; 2) Prioritise enhancements that would benefit a broad cross-section of the optical interferometry community; 3) Represent the interests of the major facility optical interferometers.

Working Group on Imaging Algorithms

Interferometry imaging beauty contests

2004 | 2006 | 2008 | 2010 | 2012

Working Group on Calibrator Stars

Working Group Website

The working group on calibrator stars belongs to the IAU Commission 54 on Optical/Infrared Interferometry, under the Division IX (Optical and Infrared Techniques) of the IAU. Among the tasks of the working group are the coordination of the work on interferometric calibrator data bases carried out within individual interferometer projects, and the overview of resources and tools for observers looking for suitable calibrators.

Working Group on Intensity Intererometry

Working Group Website
Intensity interferometry was successfully introduced by Robert Hanbury Brown and colleagues in the 60s-70s. It was used to measure the diameter of bright stars and the orbit of binaries and was the first to measure the limb-darkening of a star. The intensity correlation technique has some advantages with respect to its amplitude equivalent but has the drawback to require a large number of photons hence a stronger limitation in sensitivity. However, recent developments of detectors and electronics have increased the band pass of detectors and consequently the potential sensitivity of intensity interferometry. Also, various gamma ray detection observatories, based on collection of Cerenkov radiation produced in the atmosphere, are potentially making available large collecting area mirrors.
We believe that it is therefore important to the interferometry community to understand the interest and potential of the technique in the light of these new developments. We propose to create a working group with this preliminary mandate. As a first goal, we would propose preparation of a white paper for the purpose of briefing our commission and community. Creation of the working group will be decided upon reception of expressions of interest.

2012 IAU General Assembly Meeting

  • The Commission 54 business meeting will be held in August during the IAU General Assembly in Bejing, China. The Commission 54 meeting will be Friday, August 24, 10:30-12:30, in room 405. The Master IAU Schedule provides details of other events at the General Assembly.