In this brief communication we provide the rationale for, and the outcome of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) resolution vote at the XXIX-th General Assembly in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2015, on recommended nominal conversion constants for selected solar and planetary properties. The problem addressed by the resolution is a lack of established conversion constants between solar and planetary values and SI units: a missing standard has caused a proliferation of solar values (e.g., solar radius, solar irradiance, solar luminosity, solar effective temperature and solar mass parameter) in the literature, with cited solar values typically based on best estimates at the time of paper writing. As precision of observations increases, a set of consistent values becomes increasingly important. To address this, an IAU Working Group on Nominal Units for Stellar and Planetary Astronomy formed in 2011, uniting experts from the solar, stellar, planetary, exoplanetary and fundamental astronomy, as well as from general standards fields to converge on optimal values for nominal conversion constants. The effort resulted in the IAU 2015 Resolution B3, passed at the IAU General Assembly by a large majority. The resolution recommends the use of nominal solar and planetary values, which are by definition exact and are expressed in SI units. These nominal values should be understood as conversion factors only, not as the true solar/planetary properties or current best estimates. Authors and journal editors are urged to join in using the standard values set forth by this resolution in future work and publications to help minimize further confusion.
A. Prsa, P. Harmanec, G. Torres, et. al.
Wed, 1 Jun 16
Comments: 15 pages, 2 tables, accepted to AJ