IOAA Syllabus 2022

The International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics is an international competition for high school students in the subjects of astronomy and astrophysics, similar to the other International Science Olympiads. Participants, who must not be enrolled in higher education and be under the age of 20 on June 30th of the event year, will solve theoretical, data analytic, and observational challenges individually and in teams during a 10-day period in under-regulated and timed settings.

The competition is divided into 2 parts, i.e. theoretical and practical. Extensive material in basic astronomical ideas is required in both theoretical and practical situations for the IOAA Exam. To solve the questions, you’ll need a high school level understanding of physics and maths. In normal solutions, calculus, complex numbers, and solving differential equations should not be employed. Astronomical software products can help with practical and observational challenges. We will discuss the IOAA Syllabus 2022 in detail.

Theoretical and Practical Syllabus

Basic Astrophysics



Celestial 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, Blackbody 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, Polarisation.

Nuclear Physics

Basic Concepts Including Structure of An Atom, Mass Defect And Binding Energy Radioactivity, Neutrinos (Q).

Coordinates and Times



Celestial Sphere

Spherical Trigonometry, Celestial Coordinates And Their Applications, Equinox And Solstice, Circumpolar Stars, Constellations And Zodiac.

Concept of Time

Solar Time, Sidereal Time, Julian Date, Heliocentric Julian Date, Time Zone, Universal Time, Local Mean Time, Different 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

Relations, 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 The Solar System Objects, Sidereal And Synodic Periods, Retrograde Motion, Outer Reaches of The Solar System (Q).

Space Exploration

Satellite Trajectories And Transfers, Human Exploration of The Solar System (Q), Planetary Missions (Q), Sling-shot Effect of Gravity, Space-based Instruments (Q).


Tides, Seasons, Eclipses, Aurorae (Q), Meteor Showers.




Stellar Properties

Methods of Distance Determination, Radiation, Luminosity And Magnitude, Color Indices And Temperature, Determination of Radii And Masses, Stellar Motion, Irregular And Regular Stellar Variabilities – Broad Classification & Properties, Cepheids & Period-luminosity Relation, Physics of Pulsation (Q).

Stellar Interior and Atmospheres

Stellar Equilibrium, Stellar Nucleosynthesis, Energy Transportation (Q), Boundary Conditions, Stellar Atmospheres And Atmospheric Spectra.

Stellar Evolution

Stellar Formation, Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, Pre-main Sequence, Main Sequence, Post-main Sequence Stars, Supernovae, Planetary Nebulae, End 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 Eclipsing Binary Systems, Doppler Shifts In Binary Systems, Interacting Binaries, Peculiar Binary Systems.


Techniques Used to Detect Exoplanets.

Star Clusters

Classification And Structure, Mass, Age, Luminosity And Distance Determination.

Milky Way Galaxy

Structure And Composition, Rotation, Satellites of the Milky Way (Q).

Interstellar Medium

Gas (Q), Dust (Q), Hii Regions, 21cm Radiation, Nebulae (Q), Interstellar Absorption, Dispersion Measure, Faraday Rotation.


Classifications Based on Structure, Composition And Activity, Mass, Luminosity And Distance Determination, Rotation Curves.

Accretion Processes

Basic Concepts (Spherical And Disc Accretion) (Q), Eddington Luminosity.




Elementary Cosmology

Expanding Universe And Hubble’s Law, Cluster of Galaxies, Dark Matter, Dark Energy (Q), Gravitational Lensing, Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, Big Bang (Q), Alternative Models of The Universe (Q), Large Scale Structure (Q), Distance Measurement At A Cosmological Scale, Cosmological Redshift.

Instrumentation and Space Technologies



Multi-wavelength Astronomy

Observations In Radio, Microwave, Infrared, Visible, Ultraviolet, X-ray, And Gamma-ray Wavelength Bands, Earth’s Atmospheric Effects.


Telescopes And Detectors (E.G. Charge-coupled Devices, Photometers, Spectrographs), Magnification, Focal Length, Focal Ratio, Resolving And Light-gathering Powers of Telescopes, Geometric Model of Two Element Interferometer, Aperture Synthesis, Adaptive Optics, Photometry, Astrometry.

Practical Part

This part consists of 2 sections: observations and data analysis sections. The theoretical part of the syllabus provides the basis for all problems in the practical part.

The observations section focuses on the contestant’s experience in

  1. Naked-eye observations.
  2. Usage of sky maps and catalogues (note: any stars referred to by name rather than Bayer designation or catalogue number must be on the list of IAU-approved star names; knowledge of the whole list is not required).
  3. Application of coordinate systems in the sky, magnitude estimation, estimation of angular separation
  4. Usage of basic astronomical instruments-telescopes and various detectors for observations but enough instructions must be provided to the contestants. Observational objects may be from real sources in the sky or imitated sources in the laboratory. Computer simulations may be used in the problems, but sufficient instructions must be provided to the contestants.

The data analysis section focuses on the calculation and analysis of the astronomical data provided in the problems. Additional requirements are as follows:

  1. Proper identification of error sources, calculation of errors, and estimation of their influence on the final results.
  2. Proper use of graph papers with different scales, e.g., polar and logarithmic papers. Transformation of the data to get a linear plot and find the “Best Fit” line approximately.
  3. Basic statistical analysis of the observational data.
  4. Knowledge of the most common experimental techniques for measuring physical quantities mentioned in Part A.

Preparation Tips for IOAA Exam

Candidates must be able to comprehend the material of this syllabus in minute detail in order to do well in IOAA. Candidates are urged to get prior year questions and solve them at their leisure in order to have a better understanding of the topic.

Students should read well-known astronomy literature to have a thorough understanding of numerous themes. Students must also keep up with the most recent advancements in the area of astronomy. They must also examine previous question papers to gain a sense of the pattern. The answers to the solved problems may be found on the internet. The IOAA’s official website also provides all of the necessary information for IOAA preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions on IOAA Syllabus 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 competition in which youngsters from all around the world compete on a wide range of topics. The foundation strives to instil an enthusiasm for the topic of astronomy and astrophysics in students, in the hope that they will continue to study and work in the field in the future.

What is the first stage of the IOAA examination?

To compete in the IOAA, you must first compete in the NSEA, which is the first stage of the Astronomy Olympiad. Once a person qualifies at this level, he can access his scorecard through the internet. Only then will he be eligible to take the IOAA test.

Is there a fee to participate?

According to IOAA guidelines, teams of up to 5 students and two team leaders are not required to pay a participation fee. All participating teams’ local hospitality is covered by the host country. Teams are responsible for arranging their own transport from their home country to the host city.

Does IOAA ask for proof of eligibility for all participants?

All team leaders must have documentation that their student participants are under the age of 18 and have not graduated from high school before the start of the year. If there is any dispute regarding a student’s eligibility, the IOAA hosts and/or EC might demand to see this evidence at the event.

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