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Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 135, 467-475

The age of astronomy-related organizations

A. Heck

Send offprint request: A. Heck

Observatoire Astronomique, 11 rue de l'Université, F-67000 Strasbourg, France

Received October 23; accepted November 4, 1998


The age of currently active astronomy-related organizations is investigated from comprehensive and up-to-date samples. Results for professional institutions, associations, planetariums, and public observatories are commented, as well as specific distributions for astronomy-related publishers and software producers.

Some events had a clear impact on the rate of foundation of astronomy-related organizations, such as World War I and II, the beginning of space exploration and the landing of man on the Moon, but not all of them affected in the same way Western Europe and North America. It is still premature to assess the impact of the end of the Cold War. A category such as the software producers would of course not exist nor prosper without the advent of the computer age and the subsequent electronic networking of the planet. Other aspects are discussed in the paper.

Key words: sociology of astronomy -- astronomical databases: miscellaneous

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