In collaboration with the
International Astronomical Union

IAU - Outstanding Astronomical Heritage

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is compiling its own list of astronomical heritage sites that are outstanding in the history of astronomy but do not necessarily demonstrate potential Outstanding Universal Value which would be needed for inscription on the World Heritage List. For example, the period from the European Renaissance to the middle of the 20th century was an extremely rich one for the history of astronomy, with many observatories from this period playing a significant role because of the cutting-edge scientific research carried out there. However, the actual building may be damaged or destroyed and the original instruments may no longer exist in situ or at all.

For the moment, the IAU´s Outstanding Astronomical Heritage (OAH) list is focusing on such ‘classical observatories’. It includes, for example, Tycho Brahe’s observatory at Uraniborg, which is completely destroyed although a few of the instruments have been preserved or reconstructed. The OAH list was launched at the IAU’s 2018 General Assembly in Vienna and is steadily being extended—there are currently more than 70 OAH sites on the portal. You can view OAH sites on their own or alongside our other case studies by choosing the relevant filter options in the Heritage Finder.

IAU members who are interested in proposing new sites to the OAH list are invited to contact Gudrun Wolfschmidt, Past President of IAU Commission C4 (World Heritage and Astronomy), in the first instance. The OAH List is not open to members of the public, but we invite anyone who is interested to submit one or more Places connected to the Sky on this Portal.