2nd International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics


General Notes:

  1. Extensive contents in basic astronomical concepts are required in theoretical and practical problems.
  2. In solving the problems are necessary basic concepts in physics and mathematics at the level of gymnasium and first year of high school. In addition, on should posses notions of spherical trigonometry, logarithmic function and exponential function
  3. Astronomical software packages may be used in practical and observational problems. The contestants will be informed the list of software packages to be used at least 2 months in advance. The chosen software packages should be preferably freewares or low-cost ones enabling all countries to obtain them easily for practice purpose. The chosen softwares should preferably be available on multiple Osa (Windows / Unix / GNU-Linux / Mac).
  4. Concepts and phenomena not included in the Syllabus may be used in questions but sufficient information must be given in the questions so that contestants without previous knowledge of these topics would not be at a disadvantage.
  5. Sophisticated practical equipments likely to be unfamiliar to the candidates should not dominate a problem. If such devices are used in the questions, sufficient information must be provided. In such case, students should be given opportunity to familiarise themselves with such equipments.
  6. The original texts of the problems have to be set in the SI units, wherever applicable. Participants will be expected to mention appropriate units in their answers and should be familiar with the idea of correct rounding off and expressing the final result(s) and error(s) with correct number of significant digits.

A)Theoretical Part

Symbol (Q) is attached to some topics in the list. It means “qualitative understanding only”. Quantitative reasoning / proficiency in these topics is not mandatory.

The following theoretical contents are proposed for the contestants.

Basic Astronomy and Astrophysics



Celestial Mechanics

Newton’s Laws of Gravitation, Kepler’s Laws for circular and non-circular orbits, Ellipse, its main points, large semiax and small semiax, eccentricity. Movements of planets, asteroids, comets

 Roche limit, barycentre, 2-body problem, Lagrange points

Electromagnetic Theory

Electromagnetic waves. The visible light. Doppler effect.

Where bright, the wavelength of the visible light. Wien s law.

Electromagnetic spectrum(range: radio, UV, X)


 Ideal gas, Thermal equation of state. The caloric equation

Spectroscopy and Atomic Physics

Absorption(Q) Emission, Spectra of Celestial objects,(Q)

Coordinates and Times



Celestial Sphere

Spherical trigonometry, Celestial coordinates and their applications, Equinox and Solstice, Circumpolar stars, Constellations and Zodiac

The diurnal movement of the strings. Culmination. The planes, the straight lines and the remarkable points of the heavenly sphere. Horizontal coordinate system. Equatorial coordinate system. The height of the world pole over the horizon. The diurnal movement of strings at different latitudes. The height of a stalk at the top. The circumpolar stars, stars with sunrise and sunset.

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. Time measurement. Calendar. The bases of time measurement.

Solar System



The Sun

Solar structure, Solar surface activities, Solar rotation, Solar radiation and Solar constant, Sun-Earth relations, Role of magnetic fields (Q), Solar wind and radiation pressure, Heliosphere (Q), Magnetosphere (Q)

The Solar System

 The Sun – The Earth – The Moon. Phases. Eclipse. The Earth’s Movement around the Sun, the Moon around the Earth, the Moon phases. Eclipse of Moon and Sun. Precession of Earth’s Axi  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, The connection between the sidereal and the synodic period. The connection between the sidereal and the synodic period. Retrograde motion, Outer reaches of the solar system (Q) Parallax, distances. The size, shape, mass and average density of bodies in the solar system. Albedo. Distances to bodies in the solar system. The astronomical unit. Angular dimensions, small angles.The apparent motions of the planets and the Sun on the heavenly sphere. Planetary configurations.  The variation of the declination and the right ascension of the Sun throughout the year. Seasonal variations in the appearance of starry sky


Tides, Seasons, Eclipses, Aurorae (Q), Meteor Showers Atmospheric refraction. Consider Refraction in Observations




Stellar Properties

Methods of Distance determination, Annual parallax, Radiation, Luminosity and magnitude, Determination of radii and masses, Stellar motion, Irregular and regular stellar variabilities – broad classification & properties, Cepheids & period-luminosity relation,

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

Star Clusters

Classification and Structure, Mass, age, luminosity and distance determination

Milky Way Galaxy

Structure and composition, Rotation, Satellites of Milky Way (Q)


Classifications based on structure, composition and activity, Mass, luminosity and distance determination, Rotation curves Galaxy, Sun motion, general notions about our Galaxy. The Solar System Movement in the Galaxy.




Elementary Cosmology

Expanding Universe and Hubble’s Law, Cluster of galaxies,  Big Bang (Q). Schwarzschild radius formula.

Speed of light. The Stair of the Universe. Remote units. General knowledge of the structure of the Universe.  The main units length from meter to gigaparsec.

Basic  Space Sciences




Techniques used to detect exoplanets


Cosmic speeds. Forms of orbits. The ecliptic coordinate system. Tilt, line of nodes. Calculation of speed motion in perihelion and aphelion.Determination of circular orbit. Disturbances in the motion of the planets. Tidal effects. Determining the masses of heavenly bodies. Elementary calculations of Earth’s orbits to nearby planets.

Space Exploration

Satellite trajectories and Hoffman transfers, Human exploration of the Solar System (Q), planetary missions (Q), Sling-shot effect
of gravity, Space-based instruments (Q)


Fundamentals of geometric optics. The eye, as an optical device. Construction of the simplest observation tools. Refractor. Reflector. Photo camera. Binoculars. Building images in optical devices. Angular enlargement.