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DIVISION G COMMISSION 21: GALACTIC AND EXTRAGALACTIC BACKGROUNDS RADIATION

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2016

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Commission 21 was one of the oldest and smallest in the IAU yet one which underwent the most evolution since its inception. It began in 1955 as Light of the Night Sky (Lumière du Ciel Nocturne) under the Presidentship of Jean Dufay (University Observatory at Lyon). As the name suggested, in the years before space observations, its focus was on observations of atmospheric light which, at the time, was the domain of astronomers. Thus the early proceedings of the Commission were dominated by reports of the daytime and nighttime emission as observed from different locations and different conditions. Our knowledge of the Earth's atmosphere is still shaped by these early observations (Meier R.R., 1991, Space Sci. Rev. 58, 1). Members of Commission 21 were key to organizing interational collaborations to set up atmospheric stations at different latitudes, including in the Souther hemisphere and in ensuring a consistent calibration between the instruments. The Commission also bought in results from Soviet scientists in an era where communication was limited by both politics and language.

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Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2016 
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DIVISION G COMMISSION 21: GALACTIC AND EXTRAGALACTIC BACKGROUNDS RADIATION
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