TENERIFE, SPAIN—Europe's astronomical community, meeting in the Canary Islands last month for its annual convention, has taken steps to establish the first Pan-European astronomical society. In addition to increasing the astronomical community's power by speaking with one coherent voice, one of the major goals of the new European Astronomical Society will be to enable closer collaboration between astronomers in the East and West portions of the continent, and to increase support of the Eastern scientists, for whom political and economic problems often interfere with work.

At present, the Astronomy and Astrophysics Board of the European Physical Society is the main medium through which astronomers in the different nations of Europe interact. However, most astronomers do not identify with a society that is overwhelmingly dominated by physicists, and so its membership of stargazers has never reached critical mass. Several countries, such as Great Britain and Italy, have strong national societies, but...

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