1. Which countries can participate in the IAO?
Any country which ANRAO organized IAO during last ten
years or from which an official team was sent to an IAO during last five
years or an observer was sent to an IAO during last three years is eligible
to participate in the future IAO's.
The decision regarding acceptance of a new participating country is made by
the Olympic Coordinating Council. The host organization of an IAO will send
information to the National Representative Persons of the previously
participating and observing countries.
After that the National Representative Persons may request invitations from
the host organization.
Invited countries should confirm their participation.
There are exceptions for the initial period of the IAO.
For years 1996-2005 it was possible for countries to participate with
a small team without previous participation or visit of an observer to one
of the previous IAOs. Now this rule is valid only for the IAOs that
organized at the "historical territory" (for example, in 2011 in Alma-Ata).
Now and for the next few years any country from which an official team
was sent to a registered IAO-type event (for example, Asian-Pacific
Astronomy Olympiad) during last two years is eligible to participate in
2. How many students, team leaders and observers may send
Every country with the registered ANRAO
sends a national delegation of five contestants (three ones for the junior Alpha
and two ones for the group Beta) and two team leaders to the IAO.
Other countries may a delegation of three contestants (two ones for the group Alpha
and one for the group Beta) and two team leaders to the IAO. Observers may be send
additionally to these amount. Maximum number of observers from a country may be
postulated by the common decision of LOC and OCC.
3. What is ANRAO?
According to the Statutes of the IAO
there should be an Authorized National
Representative (Astronomical) Organization (ANRAO) in every participating
state: a national astronomical society, a department (section) of the EAAS
in the state, a leading observatory, an astronomical department of a leading
university, a ministry of education or another appropriate competent institution.
Hereafter, the term of National Astronomical Society is used in the meaning
4. What is the role of the Authorized National Representative
(Astronomical) Organization (ANRAO)?
What is the role of the Ministry of Education?
The role of ANRAO
in IAO is analogous to the role of the Ministry of Education in the most other
International Science Olympiads.
The Ministry of Education may be the
Authorized National Representative
(Astronomical) Organization (ANRAO) of the country or help ANRAO in preparing
and sending the team.
The ANRAO of the country represents the official authority of
a country. ANRAO gives the country's vote for any proposals that passed by voting
of members of IAO.
The ANRAO of the country appoints the National coordinator for IAO
(National Representative Person) and informs the Olympic Coordinating Council
about the name and address of the coordinator, who will be contacted in all
The ANRAO will then manage to send a national delegation
to the IAO.
It is advised to provide the participating delegation with
a pocket money necessary to pay the participating fees, travel and other
5. What are the procedures to select an ANRAO in our country?
You should not "select" ANRAO. ANRAO appeared in usual way as the institution that
is the most responsible for the National Astronomy Olympiads, forms the team of the country to
participate in IAO and other AO under IAO jurisdiction, find financial support for the teams, etc.
6. How to register ANRAO?
An astronomical organization of a state which claims to be the Authorized National
Representative (Astronomy) Organization has to send an official
application to the Olympic Coordinating Council signed by the Chairman of the organization.
In the case the only organization of the state claims to be the Authorized National
Representative Organization the juridical power of the organization to be ANRAO started since the
date of receiving the official application by the Olympic
Coordinating Council and till not more than for 4 years (shorter period may be mentioned in the decree
of election/appointment) since the date of issuing the application. Prolongation should be done by
a confirmation or a new application.
In the case several astronomical organizations (two or more astronomical societies,
two universities, etc.) of the state claim to be the Authorized National Representative Organization
the preference should be given to the organization which organizes national astronomy olympiads or
Points at issue should be determined by a Decree of the EAAS Board.
7. How are the students selected?
It is highly desirable that the selected five (or three) students participating in
the IAO are participants and winners of the final round of the National Astronomy Olympiad (NAO),
organized in each country in the current year and in which only students from secondary schools
(in the current school year) for general education can participate.
For this reason each country has a duty to send a short report
about their National Astronomy Olympiad to the Olympic Coordinating Council.
It is highly desirable that selection is not the main purpose of the Olympiad and
its rounds should be mostly educating and popularizating astronomy and science in their style.
8. Who pays for the expenses?
During the IAO the Local Organizing Committee has to cover expenses and take care
of the board, lodging, meals, transportation, excursions, sport, ceremonial, general organization
expenses, and all related expenses of the official number of persons for every delegation for all
period of the Olympiad.
Every participating delegation has to pay accommodating fees to the Local Organizing
Committee which are going mostly to support the local organization of the IAO; some part of the fees
are going to the Olympic Coordinating Council expenses.
In addition, it is responsible for the travel expenses of its delegation team to and
from the IAO location, obtaining visa, medical insurance for travelling abroad, etc.
The expenses of additional accompanying persons have to be specified in advance by
9. Who writes and composes the problems for the rounds?
The scientific and methodical part of the Olympiad must be
within the competence of the Olympic Coordinating Council under the control
of professional international astronomy organizations.
The Methodical Commission of the Coordinating Council jointly
with the Commission of the Astronomical Centre, where the Olympiad is held,
prepares and selects problems for the Olympiad:
- Theoretical round - the Methodical Commission of the Olympic Coordinating
Council, the number of theoretical problems should be from four to six. The
theoretical problems should involve at least four areas of astronomy.
Secondary-school students should be able to solve the Olympic problems with
standard high school mathematics and without extensive numerical calculations.
- Practical round - The Common Commission of the host
Astronomical Centre and the Olympic Coordinating Council, the
number of practical problems should be one or two. It is desirable
to prepare the practical rounds based on real research of the host
- Observational round - The Common Commission of the Olympic
Coordinating Council and host Astronomical Centre, the number of
observational problems should be from one to three (each problem
may consist of a set of questions).
The complexity of the problems depends on the various levels
of competence of the participants. It is advisable to select problems where the
solutions require a certain creative capability and a considerable level of
The Commission of the host observatory (scientific centre) has
to prepare spare problems for the practical round and one spare problem for the
observational round which will be presented to the Methodical Commission of
the Olympic Coordinating Council if some of the initially proposed problems is
rejected. The rejected problem cannot be considered again.
The commissions mentioned above formulate the problems
(including spare ones) in both oficial languages of IAO: Russian and English.
However, they may prepare the texts in other languages as well.
10. What are the functions of the team leaders?
During the IAO they one of the team leaders from every country
(knowledge of English and base of Russian is necessary) will function as a member
of the International Jury, which involves the following tasks:
Note: the only team leader from every team is responsible to work in the International
- translation of the text of the problems from Russian or English
into the native language(s) of their students (as usual the translation
starts 3 hours and finishes 45 minutes before the rounds);
- evaluation of the theoretical problems (the job lasts through a
- deciding about the ranking and awarding of medals to the winners.
11. Other responsibilities of the participating country.
The participating country is expected to:
Political activities and propaganda of invited IAO teams frustrating the aims of
the Olympiad are strongly disapproved, judged as a violation of the rules and
may lead to exclusion of the delegation concerned.
- strictly obey the IAO Organization Rules;
- indicate within 3 years of participation when it will host a future IAO;
- organize within 5 years of participation an international IAO-type event;
- promote mutual understanding and academic cooperation through IAO.
12. How to set up a national astronomy olympiad?
One can see recommendations in the
Supplement Instructions N 11.
13. Why a country has to send an official ANRAO observer
before joining IAO?
It is one of the rules that came into operation
at all the International Science Olympiads before founding of IAO.
Nevertheless, our rules are quite softer.
A right to participate in IAO (to join the IAO movement) gives not only
observation IAO, but also participation in any affiliated Olympiad,
APAO, for example.
14. What does it mean "individual participation"?
Special possibility is returned to the IAO rules
A team with the only team leader from a country is possible if the only
contestant from the country participates ("individual participant").
This team have to be joined with other team (from nearest country -
language should be the same or quite understandable) with the obligation
of the scientific team leader of the other team to take obligations
to fulfil all the jobs connected with this "individual participant".
Participation of such a small team maybe allowed after Organizing
Committee received a written agreement between two team leaders:
the team leader of the team with an "individual participant"
and the scientific team leader of the other above mentioned team.
The only "individual participant" from a country
Two or more participants from a country have to be organized
in a full team (with two team leaders).
15. What is IAO-type event?
The IAO-type events are olympiads with a scientific-educating style, duration
and main points of programme like at IAO.
The IAO-type events are to be held for stimulation various astronomy olympiads,
preparation for the future International Astronomy Olympiads.
These might be open national astronomy olympiads, regional (in national or international scale)
olympiads or other kind of olympiads.
Actual forms of the IAO-type events are written in the
Supplementary Instructions N 4
"IAO-type events and Schools for Young Astrophysicists".
16. What is APAO or ATAO?
APAO - The Asian-Pacific Astronomy
Olympiad (in Russian - ATAO - Aзиатско-Tихоокеанская
Aстрономическая Oлимпиада) - is a "daughter" ("affiliated") olympiad in system of
the International Astronomy Olympiad for the countries of Asia and Oceania.
APAO invites teams equivalent of second best teams from these countries.
It was founded in 2005.
The 1st APAO took place in Irkutsk (Siberia)
in December 2005.
The next APAO will be held in Tomohon (Indonesia) in November-December 2013.
17. What is IOAA?
IOAA - International Olympiad
on Astronomy and Astrophysics.
This olympiad is not in system of the International Astronomy Olympiad.
It has different purposes and basic principles.
IOAA rounds examine students in their skills of the fast solutions
of long set of standard problems and rapid calculations.
Creativity and composing of multistep models are not required from
students for solving IOAA problems (opposite to principles of IAO).
IOAA often uses Answer-Sheet System (A-S-S) for writing solutions.
A-S-S simplifies the jury jobs of checking and evaluating but
determines the ways in student's solutions and restricts their creativity.
The 1st IOAA took place in ChiangMai (Thailand) in December 2007.
The next IOAA will be held in Romania in July-August 2014.