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On the eve of the 100th anniversary of IAU Commission 19/A2 “Rotation of the Earth”

Malkin, Zinovy; Gross, Richard; McCarthy, Dennis; Brzeziński, Aleksander; Capitaine, Nicole; Dehant, Véronique; Huang, Chengli; Schuh, Harald; Vondrák, Jan; Yatskiv, Yaroslav

IAU Commission 19 began in 1919 with the birth of the IAU at the Brussels Conference, where Standing Committee 19 on Latitude Variations was established as one of 32 standing committees. At the first IAU General Assembly in 1922, Standing Committee 19 became Commission 19 “Variation of Latitude”. In the beginning, the main topic of the Commission was the investigation of polar motion. Later, its activities included observations and theory of Earth rotation and connections between Earth orientation variations and geophysical phenomena. As a result, in 1964 at the XII IAU General Assembly, the Commission was renamed “Rotation of the Earth”. The investigation of Earth orientation variations is primarily based on observations of natural and artificial celestial objects. Therefore, maintenance of the international terrestrial and celestial reference frames, as well as the coordinate transformation between the frames and the improvement of the model of precession/nutation, have always been among the primary Commission topics. In 1987, the IAU through Commissions 19 and 31 “Time” established, jointly with the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, what is now known as the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service. Commission 19 continued to work to develop methods to improve the accuracy and understanding of Earth orientation variations and related reference systems and frames as well as theoretical studies of Earth rotation. In 2015, Commission 19 was renewed as Commission A2 “Rotation of the Earth” continuing Commission 19’s functions and linking the astronomical community to other scientific organizations such as the International Association of Geodesy, International VLBI Service for Geodesy and Astrometry, International GNSS Service, International Laser Ranging Service and International DORIS Service. During its entire history, IAU Commission 19/A2 has always worked in close cooperation with these and other related services to improve the accuracy and consistency of the Earth orientation parameters and celestial and terrestrial reference frames.
Published in: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 10.1017/S1743921319000462, Cambridge University Press
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