Despite strong proposals from France, Germany and Greece, China has won the right to host the 2012 International Astronomical Union (IAU) conference at this year's IAU meeting in Prague on Wednesday.
Winning the right to host the conference, the first time China has had such an honor in its 70 year IAU membership, will significantly further China's development in astronomical studies, told Fang Cheng, vice-chairman of the IAU, told Xinhua News Agency.
It would also lead to improved cooperation between China and other countries in this field, said Fang, who expected over 3,000 astronomers from across the world to visit Beijing in 2012.
The IAU, the world's largest astronomical society, was founded in 1919 and holds its international conference every three years.
One of the hottest topics at this year's meeting in Prague has been the debate and voting on a new definition of a planet that could increase the tally of planets in our solar system to 12 from the current 9.
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2006)