IAU Working Group on Ap & Related Stars: The Future

At the forthcoming 29th General Assembly of the IAU (Honolulu, August 3-14, 2015), the question of the continued existence of the WG on Ap & Related Stars will come up. As part of its on-going reform, the IAU wants its WGs to have specific objectives to be achieved by a deadline that, in general, should not be beyond the next GA. Thus if our WG is to have a continuity beyond the 2015 GA, we need to set goals to be achieved by 2018 at the latest.

The Organising Committee of the WG has been discussing that issue. There is a broad consensus that we should apply to the IAU for continuation of the WG. For the IAU to approve such an application, the WG needs to propose to deliver a scientific product. Facilitating communication within our community, organising scientific meetings, attracting young scientists or raising funding are all means that can be used to generate that product, and as such they can be involved in plans for the future activities of a WG. But they cannot be the product itself.

Possible examples of deliverables include maintaining an up-to-date catalogue of the rotation periods of Ap stars (building upon the work started by Franco Catalano and Pierre Renson), or expanding the catalogues of magnetic field measurements (following the work of Iosif Romanyuk and Victor Bychkov), possibly using e.g. the soon-to-come Gaia data to complement them and/or expanding them to encompass the fossil fields of massive stars of all types. There are certainly many other possibilities, but any of them (including the examples above) can only be considered if one or several members of the working group are willing to take the lead in the implementation of such projects.

Accordingly, at this point we are calling for suggestions from all the members of the WG for possible goals to be set to this WG in the coming years. We are also inviting members who are interested in leading and coordinating work towards achievement of such goals to make themselves known.

Please send your suggestions and comments to gmathys AT eso.org at your soonest convenience, and in any case by July 3 at the latest. Your input is essential: if you do not respond, the existence of the WG on Ap & Related Stars may very soon come to an end (at least as an IAU WG).

Gautier Mathys
Chair, IAU WG on Ap & Related Stars