The Commission 4 Organizing Committee began its work for the 2009-2012 triennium by revising the commission's terms of reference, which serve as our “mission statement.” The new terms of reference are:
Maintain cooperation and collaboration between the national offices providing ephemerides, prediction of phenomena, astronomical reference data, and navigational almanacs.(b)
Encourage agreement on the bases (reference systems, time scales, models, and constants) of astronomical ephemerides and reference data in the various countries. Promote improvements to the usability and accuracy of astronomical ephemerides, and provide information comparing computational methods, models, and results to ensure the accuracy of data provided.(c)
Maintain databases, available on the Internet to the national ephemeris offices and qualified researchers, containing observations of all types on which the ephemerides are based. Promote the continued importance of observations needed to improve the ephemerides, and encourage prompt availability of these observations, especially those from space missions, to the science community.(d)
Encourage the development of software and web sites that provide astronomical ephemerides, prediction of phenomena, and astronomical reference data to the scientific community and public.
Promote the development of explanatory material that fosters better understanding of the use and bases of ephemerides and related data.