IAO Exam 2021 - International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO)

IAO Exam - Registration, Exam Date, Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Result and Other Details

The International Astronomy Olympiad is a scientific-educational event for students in junior high school classes, ages 14 to 18, that includes an intellectual competition. The problems are designed to encourage innovation, ingenuity, and independent thought. The Olympiad is held in a spirit of friendship and tolerance, with the competition serving as a catalyst for participants to demonstrate their talents, but interactions, exchange of ideas, and cooperation among students, teachers, and scientists from various countries take precedence.

IAO in Detail


  • In order to solve the problems, high school students must have a basic understanding of Mathematics and Physics. Differential and integral calculus, complex numbers, and spherical trigonometry are not needed for standard solutions.

  • Candidates are supposed to use units that are commonly used in astronomy and physics.

  • Various tables of supplementary data are given to contestants, which they can use to solve any problem.

  • Participants are expected to round off their answers correctly.


Any participating country's ANRAO can send up to five students who have won their respective national olympiads: Three students for group Alpha (14-15 years old) and two students for group Beta (16-18 years old). They will be joined by two team leaders who will represent their respective countries.


There are three ways to register-

  1. Send a representative from the ANRAO to the upcoming IAO.

  2. Send a team to the next IAO-style event that is licenced.

  3. Send a small team to an IAO that is organised around a 'historical territory' or an IAO that follows the same rules.

Tentative Dates are as follows-

Exam Dates



October 26, 2021

Arriving of some teams

October 27, 2021

Day of arrival 

October 28, 2021

Day of the opening ceremony

October 29, 2021

Day of the theoretical round

October 30, 2021

Day of the observational round

October 31, 2021

Rest day, excursions

November 1, 2021

Day of the practical round

November 2, 2021

Day of excursions

November 3, 2021

Day of the closing ceremony

November 4, 2021

Day of teams departure

November 5, 2021

Departure of some teams


The Olympiad's Goals Include-

1. Attracting the most promising young people to astronomy as a professional field:

  • Allowing students to demonstrate their abilities and supporting the best students; assisting young people in making career choices; 

  • Familiarising participants with the real working conditions and essence of research work in the hosting observatory (institute); 

  • Exchange of ideas and information between astronomers, instructors, and students.

2. Growing astronomical education and spreading astronomical knowledge to as many students as possible:

  • A larger number of children and young people being interested in astronomy, physics, and astronautics; 

  • Popularisation of natural science and the scientific method of astronomy and related sciences;

  • Encouraging teachers to improve, enrich, and expand school astronomy education so that more children can participate;

  • Activating astronomy education in high school junior classes; 

  • Fostering extracurricular activities in amateur clubs, scientific societies, circles, and other organisations; 

  • Encouraging the organisation of national astronomical Olympiads in various countries, and strengthening foreign contacts in the area of astronomy and physics education in schools.

3. Igniting Children's imagination and ingenuity:

  • The nature of astronomical tasks allows for putting students in non-standard situations that are very similar to those of real scientific research; 

  • They can include the creation of hypotheses, assuming approximations, choosing between a variety of factors that could be taken into account or ignored, and making an independent decision about the form of the needed answers; 

  • They set unusual astronomical tasks.

4. Instilling a sense of fairness and fellowship:

  • The International Astronomy Olympiad is a gathering of young people from various countries who will be future colleagues in scientific exploration and will have to collaborate; 

  • During the Olympiad, favourable conditions are created for active contacts between students, teachers, and specialists from the hosting observatory (institute) with the aim of an intense exchange of knowledge, education, and research.

Participating States 

  1. Armenia (ANRAO registered)

  2. Bolivia

  3. Brazil (ANRAO registered)

  4. Bulgaria (ANRAO registered)

  5. China (ANRAO registered 30.07.2003.)

  6. Crimea (ANRAO registered in 2004.)

  7. Croatia (ANRAO registered)

  8. Czechia (ANRAO registered)

  9. Estonia (ANRAO registered 14.09.2004.)

  10. India (ANRAO registered 25.07.2003.)

  11. Indonesia (ANRAO registered 05.07.2004.)

  12. Iran (ANRAO registered 01.10.2004.)

  13. Italy (ANRAO registered 20.12.2002.)

  14. Kazakhstan (ANRAO registered 29.06.2007.)

  15. Korea (ANRAO registered)

  16. Latvia

  17. Lithuania (ANRAO registered in 2004.)

  18. Mongolia

  19. Moscow (ANRAO registered 01.10.1998.)

  20. Romania (ANRAO registered 01.10.2004.)

  21. Russia (ANRAO registered 07.06.1996.)

  22. Serbia (ANRAO registered 22.10.2002.)

  23. Sri Lanka

  24. Sweden (ANRAO registered 01.10.2003.

  25. Thailand (ANRAO registered 14.08.2005.)

  26. Ukraine (ANRAO registered 16.08.2007.)

Observing States

  1. Denmark (1998)

  2. Ireland (2003)

  3. Japan (2005)

  4. Bangladesh (2006)

  5. Cambodia (2012)

  6. Ghana (2012)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Many Students and Team Leaders Can Participate in IAO From Each Country?

Ans. A delegation of five contestants is sent from each country with a registered ANRAO. The Junior Olympiad allows three students to compete, while the Senior Olympiad allows two. They also have the option of sending two team leaders to the IAO. Other countries are also allowed to send three candidates, two for the junior group and one for the senior group. There is a provision for observers to be sent. The Olympic Coordinating Council (OCC) and the LOC's decision can, however, direct the maximum number of observers from a nation. For new countries wishing to send athletes to the Olympiad, the rules are the same.

2. Which Countries Can Participate in the IAO?

Ans. The International Astronomical Olympiad is open to any country that has held an ANRO in the last ten years or sent a team to the IAO in the previous five years. The Olympic Coordinating Council decides whether or not to consider a new country's invitation to join IAO. The new countries must adhere to the defined rules. Every year, the IAO's host organisation sends pertinent details to the countries' National Representative Persons who have previously participated. The countries will then ask the host organisation for an invitation to participate. They will compete in the Olympiad after receiving approval.

3. How Do I Participate in IAO?

Ans. You must be a high school or university student to compete in the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Competition. Students of all ages and from all over the world are encouraged to participate.

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