IOAA exam – exam date, application form, exam sample, syllabus, result

The main objective of the IOAA is to stimulate a growing interest in astronomy and related STEM subjects among young people, particularly through general education, and to strengthen global collaboration in the promotion of astronomy and astrophysics in schools. More brilliant high school students should get excited about studying astronomy at university level as part of the future generation of astronomy and astrophysics specialists through events like the IOAA.

Candidates are encouraged to regularly follow up exam information by visiting their official website. The International Astronomy Olympiad and Astrophysics is the astronomy and related science competition at the highest level for high school students from all over the world, in which teams from over fifty nations are currently participating. In this post we examine the IOAA 2021-2022 Test format, curriculum, registration, results and more.

Exam levels in the IOAA

The five phases of the Astronomy Olympiad are as follows:

  • Level I: National Standard Examination in Astronomy (NSEA),
  • Stage II: Indian National Astronomy Olympiad (INAO),
  • Level III: Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in Astronomy,
  • Stage IV: Pre-Departure Training Camp (PDT) for IOAA,
  • Stage V: International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA).

IOAA curriculum 2021-2022

Theoretical and practical curriculum

Basic astrophysics



Heavenly Mechanics

Newton’s laws of gravitation, Kepler’s laws for circular and non-circular orbits, Roche limit, Barycentre, 2-body problem, Lagrange points

Electromagnetic Theory & Quantum Physics

Electromagnetic spectrum, radiation laws, black body radiation


Thermodynamic equilibrium, ideal gas, energy transfer

Spectroscopy and Atomic Physics

Absorption, emission, scattering, spectra of celestial objects, Doppler effect, line formations, continuum spectra, splitting and broadening of spectral lines, polarization

Nuclear physics

Basic concepts including structure of an atom, mass defect and binding energy radioactivity, neutrinos (Q).

Coordinates and times



Heavenly Sphere

Spherical trigonometry, celestial coordinates and their applications, equinoxes and solstices, circumpolar stars, constellations and zodiac.

Concept of time

Solar time, sidereal time, Julian date, heliocentric Julian date, time zone, universal time, mean local time, various definitions of “year”, equation of time

Solar system



The sun

Solar structure, solar surface activities, solar rotation, solar radiation and solar constant, solar neutrinos (Q), sun-earth

Relationships, role of magnetic fields (Q), solar wind and radiation pressure, heliosphere (Q), magnetosphere (Q).

The solar system

Earth-moon system, precession, nutation, libration, formation and evolution of the solar system (Q), structure and components of the solar system (Q), structure and orbits of solar system objects, sidereal and synodic periods, retrograde motion, outer ranges of the solar system (Q ).

Space exploration

Satellite trajectories and transfers, human exploration of the solar system (Q), planetary missions (Q), centrifugal effect of gravity, space-based instruments (Q).


Tides, seasons, eclipses, polar lights (Q), meteor showers.




Star properties

Methods of distance determination, radiation, brightness and brightness, color indices and temperature, determination of radii and masses, stellar movement, irregular and regular stellar variability – broad classification and properties, Cepheids and period-luminosity relationship, physics of pulsation (Q).

Stellar interior and atmosphere

Stellar equilibrium, stellar nucleosynthesis, energy transport (Q), boundary conditions, stellar atmospheres and atmospheric spectra.

Star evolution

Star formation, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, pre-main sequence, main sequence, post-main sequence stars, supernovae, planetary nebulae, final states of stars.

Stellar systems



Binary star systems

Different types of binary stars, mass determination in binary star systems, light and radial velocity curves of darkening binary systems, Doppler shifts in binary systems, interacting binary systems, peculiar binary systems.


Techniques for detecting exoplanets.

Star clusters

Classification and structure, mass, age, brightness and distance determination.

Milky Way

Structure and composition, rotation, satellites of the Milky Way (Q).

Interstellar medium

Gas (Q), dust (Q), Hii ​​regions, 21 cm radiation, fog (Q), interstellar absorption, measurement of scattering, Faraday rotation.


Classifications based on structure, composition and activity, mass, luminosity and distance determination, rotation curves.

Accretion processes

Basic concepts (ball and disc accretion) (Q), Eddington Luminosity.




Elementary cosmology

Expanding Universe and Hubble’s Law, Galaxy Clusters, Dark Matter, Dark Energy (Q), Gravitational Lenses, Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, Big Bang (Q), Alternative Models of the Universe (Q), Large-Scale Structure (Q), Distance Measurement on a Cosmological Scale, cosmological redshift.

Instrumentation and space technology



Multi-wavelength astronomy

Observations in radio, microwave, infrared, visual, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray wavelength bands, atmospheric effects of the earth.


Telescopes and detectors (e.g. charge-coupled devices, photometers, spectrographs), magnification, focal length, focal length, resolution and light collecting capacity of telescopes, geometric model of a two-element interferometer, aperture synthesis, adaptive optics, photometry, astrometry.

IOAA exam templates 2021-2022

length of time

Each paper 5 hours

Number of exams

2 papers


Theory, practice

The theoretical part of the IOAA is the first component. There are both long and short questions in this section. Below is a list of how many there are of each type of question.

Five quick questions make up the total number of quick questions.

  • The number of medium-length questions – The paper contains five medium-length questions.
  • The number of long questions – there are two or three long questions.
  • The duration of the event is 5 hours.

The practice paper, which makes up a large part of the IOAA, is divided into numerous sections. The assigned tasks, as defined in the following questionnaires, may change slightly. In most cases, students will be assigned an assignment in one or more of the following categories. A practical assignment with a focus on all four locations is also possible. The IOAA curriculum includes information on each of these topics.

  • monitoring
  • Paper-based practical problem
  • Computer based problem
  • Planetarium simulation

IOAA registration 2021-2022

  • Students must be under 20 years of age to take the exam.
  • There will only be a team of five participants.
  • The members of the International Board are the contact persons for the countries participating in the International Olympiad for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
  • Each participating country must submit a roster to the school.
  • The external leader gives the organizers a list of candidates with their personal details (in English) from the schools confirming their presence and the year of the competition on the arrival of each team.
  • According to IOAA standards, teams with up to 5 students and two team leaders are not charged a participation fee. The local accommodation of all participating teams is paid for by the host country. However, the teams have to arrange their own transport from their home country to the host city.

IOAA result 2021-2022

After the Olympics, the IOAA results will be published on the official website. Candidates can access their IOAA test results by visiting the IOAA official website or by following the link. The IOAA 2021 results show the candidate’s overall performance, rank, and some other important details.

Frequently asked questions about IOAA 2021-2022

What does IOAA stand for in full?

The International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) is an international competition in astronomy and astrophysics. It is an annual tournament in which young people from all over the world compete against each other on different topics. The foundation strives to get students excited about astronomy and astrophysics in the hope that they will be able to study and work in this field in the future.

What is the IOAA Marking Scheme?

The theoretical part is assessed with 50% of the overall grade, the realistic part with 50% of the overall grade (25 percent data analysis and 25 percent observation). Practical solutions should include both theoretical study (plan and debate) and pragmatic implementation. The solution to any problem should have both an answer and a full argument.

When will the tickets be available?

The release date for the admission ticket is issued one week before the exam. Candidates are encouraged to visit the website regularly for relevant updates.

Which documents must be attached to the application form?

When completing the application form, candidates must submit their score sheets, passport photos and a scanned signature. Additional information on papers such as the Aadhar card and voter ID number may be requested when completing the form.

What is the first level of the IOAA exam?

To enter the IOAA, you must first attend the NSEA, the first stage of the Astronomical Olympiad. Once a person has qualified for this level, they can access their scorecard over the Internet. Only then is he entitled to take the IOAA test.

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