Statutes of International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics for Juniors (IOAA-jr)


As a recognition of the increasing importance of astronomy and related topics in all fields of science and technology, including in the general education of young people and in order to increase the development of international contacts between different countries in the field of School education in astronomy, astrophysics and Space Sciences, an annual competition in these subjects will be organised for secondary and high school students aged less than 16 years in the year of competition. The competition is called the "International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics for Juniors" (IOAA-Jr). The "International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics for Juniors" should be organised between January and June. The first edition of this Olympiad will be held in Romania in the towns of Suceava – Gura Humorului from 28 March to 3 April 2020. In the years when no country has the possibility of organizing it, IOAA-Jr will be organized in Romania.


The competition is organised in one of the countries participating in the territory of which the competition will be conducted. Participation in IOAA-Jr is limited to teams from countries or territories with National Olympic Committees, duly recognised by the International Olympic Committee. By choosing to participate, teams agree to respect the statuses of IOAA-Jr and the decisions of the IOAA-Jr Board, as well as the corresponding international legal and diplomatic agreements. In the event of a dispute concerning the official name of a participating team, the name recognised by the International Olympic Board shall be used.

The organizing country is obliged to ensure equal participation of all delegations and invite all participants to any of the three most recent contests. In addition, it has the right to invite other countries.

The International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics for Juniors is a purely educational event. No country can have its team excluded from the participation by the organizers on any political reasons, such as those resulting from political tension, lack of diplomatic relations, lack of government recognition of the organizing country, the imposed embargo or similar reasons. If such difficulties hinder the formal invitation of an official team representing a country, students from such a country should, if possible, be invited to participate as individuals.

The contest is carried out in a friendly atmosphere aiming at promoting future collaborations and encouraging friends in the scientific community. In this respect, tensions between participating countries shall not be reflected in any activity carried out during the competition. Any political or religious activity directed against any person or country is strictly prohibited. A country that violates this rule may be prohibited from participation.

Within five years of its entry into the competition, a country should declare its intention to host the upcoming Olympiad. This declaration should propose a timetable so that a provisional list of the order of the countries wishing to host the Olympiads can be compiled. A country refusing to organize the competition may be banned from participation, even if delegations from this country took part in previous competitions.


The competition is coordinated by the Ministry of Education or other appropriate institution of one of the participating countries. Hereunder, the term "Ministry of Education" is used in the above sense.

The Ministries of Education of the participating countries usually assign the organisation, preparation and execution of the competition to a scientific society or other institution in the organizing country. The Ministry of Education of the organizing country shall notify the Ministry of Education of the participating countries the name and address of the institution responsible for organizing the competition.


Each participating country can send a regular team of contestants, consisting of no more than 5 students, selected through a fair and representative process. Team members can be secondary or high school students.All students who have born in 2004 or younger are elligible to participate at IOAA-jr 2020.


In addition to students, each country sends two accompanying adults (hereinafter referred to as "team leaders"). No student can participate without at least one team leader to accompany the team.

Team leaders become equal and independent members of the International Board for the period until the beginning of the next contest. The members of the International Board are treated as representative contacts for the participating countries regarding the affairs of the International Olympiad of Astronomy and Astrophysics-jr.

Each participating team must provide organizers with a list of the personal data of the contestats (full name, date of birth, home address and school address) and certificates (in English) from the schools confirming the attendance or the graduation of the contestants in the year of the competition.


The organizing country has the right to invite guest teams in addition to regular teams (no more than one guest team per country). Normally, the guest team consists of five students and two leaders. However, the leaders of the guest teams are not members of the International Board. In addition, their responsabilities are identical to those of regular team leaders.

The participation of a guest team always requires approval from the organizing country. The country sending a guest team pays all expenses incurred from its participation.

The next organizers are not obliged to invite the guest teams present in the previous contest. Countries present only with the guest teams are not obliged to organise IOAA-jr in the future.

Contestants from guest teams and guest teams are categorized in the same way as regular teams. They can receive diplomas and prizes, and their names should be identified with the letter "G" ("Guest") in all official documents.


The working language of the International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics -Juniors is English. The problems in the contest and their solutions should be prepared in English. However, organizers can prepare these documents in other languages.


The financial principles of the organisation of the contest are as follows:

  • The Ministry that sends the students to the competition covers total round-trip travel expenses of students and accompanying persons to the place where the competition is conducted. Also, the Ministry that sends the students to the competition pays a participation fee set by organizers that partially cover the costs of accommodation and meal for participating students and accompanying persons.
  • The Ministry of the organizing country partially covers the other costs from the time of arrival until departure. In particular, it relates to the costs of accommodation and meal for students and accompanying persons, costs for excursions, prizes for winners, etc.


The contest consists of 2 parts: the theoretical competition (including short and long questions) and the practical competition (including astronomical observations). Normally, there should be 5 short questions, 3 intermediate problems and 1 or 2 long problems for the theoretical part. Working time (3 hours). For the practical part, the organizer can give a task set on: 1) field observation, 2) paper-based practical problem, 3) computer-based problem, 4) planetary simulation or a combination of the four, which is expected to be solved in 3 hours. The problems should involve at least four fields mentioned in the syllabus.

The succession of the competition days is decided by the organizers of the contest. The time available for solving the problems should be no more than three hours for the theoretical part and a total of no more than three hours for all components of the practical part. These rounds of the competition must be distributed in at least four calendar days at least one day off between the first examination and the last examination. The duration of the Olympiad (including the arrival and departure days) should normally be 6-7 days.

When solving problems, contestants can use non-programmable pocket calculators without graphics and drawing materials, which are brought by competitors themselves.


The competition tasks are prepared by the host country. The host country must also prepare at least: 2 short problems, 2 intermediate problems, 1 long problem with theoretical data and 1 observational backup problem. They will be presented to the International Board only if some of the problems initially presented are rejected by two thirds of the members of the International Board. The rejected problem cannot be reconsidered.

The host country may request and take into account suggestions for questions from members of the International Board. Any members of the International Board providing such suggestions do so with strict confidence and understanding that they will not be disclosed to students before the competition.


The theoretical part represents 50% of the total score, and the practical part 50% of the total score. Practical solutions should include theoretical analysis (plan and discussion) and practical implementation. The solution of each problem must contain a complete answer and justification.


The individual participants will receive certificates and medals or honourable mentions in accordance with the criteria below:

  • The reference score Mis defined as the lower of 50% of the absolute score, and the median total score, of all the contestants.
  • The participants whose score is more than 1.6Mwill receive certificates and gold medals.
  • The participants whose score is 1.3Mor more but less than 1.6Mwill receive certificates and silver medals.
  • The participants whose score is Mor more but less than 1.3Mwill receive certificates and bronze medals.
  • For honourable mention certificates, the reference score as defined above, will be applied separately for theoretical (MT) and practical (MP) parts. Any participant who has not been awarded a medal, but whose score in either one of these parts is above the respective reference score (MTor MP), will receive an honourable mention certificate.
  • The remaining participants will receive certificates of participation.
  • In each of the categories above, through majority vote, the International Board can adjust the position of the cut-off by up to two position, i.e. include or exclude two students at the boundary of the respective category. When doing so the International Board should give preference to placing the cut-off at a natural break in the distribution of scores.
  • The participant who obtains the highest score (the Absolute Winner) will receive a special prize and a certificate.
  • Other special prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the Organizer.


In order to encourage cooperation between participants from different countries, the organizing country will also include an event for international teams, classified separately from the main competition, organized according to the following rules:

  • Each team must consist of at least 5 students with each team member from a different country. The selection of team members should, if possible, be randomized.
  • To select the best international team, a task will be designed to be performed by the team as a whole. This task may contain theoretical, practical or observational aspects or any combination thereof. The host country will be free to decide which option to use or propose another format in consultation with the Secretariat of the IOAA-jr.
  • Organizers will prepare a prize for the best international team.


The obligations of the organizer:

1. The organizer shall be obliged to ensure that the competition is organised in accordance with the Statutes.

2. The organizer shall draw up a set of ' organisational rules ', based on Statutes, and transmit them to the participating countries on time. These organisational rules must provide details of the Olympiad not covered by the Statutes and indicate the names and addresses of the institutions and persons responsible for the Olympiad.

3. The organizer shall establish a specific programme for the competition (Programme for contestants and accompanying persons, excursion schedules, etc.), which shall be sent in advance to the participating countries.

4. The organizer shall verify immediately after the arrival of each delegation if its contestants meet the conditions of the contests.

5. The organizer chooses (according to Syllabus) the problems and ensures the proper wording in English and other languages set out in # 6. It is advisable to select problems where solutions require a certain creative capacity and a considerable level of knowledge. All those who participate in the preparation of competition problems are obliged to keep the complete secrecy.

6. The organizer shall provide the teams with guides.

7. The organizer shall provide the leaders of the delegations with copies of the contestants' solutions in their delegation at least 24 hours before the moderation.

8. The organizer is responsible for organizing the grading of solutions and moderation of problems.

9. The organizer shall draw up a list of participants proposed as winners of the prizes and honourable mentions.

10. The Organizer prepares prizes (diplomas and medals), honorable mentions and prizes for the winners of the contest.


The International Board is chaired by a representative of the organizing country. He/She is responsible for preparing the competition and serves on the board in addition to the accompanying persons of the respective teams.

All decisions, except those described separately, shall be adopted by a majority of votes. In the case of an equal number of votes for and against, the Chairperson has the casting vote.


The leaders of the delegation are responsible for the correct translation of the problems from English (or other languages mentioned in # 6) into the mother tongue of the participants.


The International Board has the following responsibilities:

1. To lead and to supervise the competition to ensure that it is carried out in accordance with the regulations.

2. To iscuss the choice of the organizers regarding their tasks, solutions and evaluation recommendations suggested before each day of the competition. The Board can change or reject suggested tasks, but cannot propose new ones. The changes may not affect the practical equipment. A final decision on the formulation of tasks and evaluation guidelines will be taken. Participants at the International Board meeting are obliged to keep secrecy in terms of tasks and offer no assistance whatsoever to any of the contestants.

3. To ensure correct and fair classification of prize winners.

4. To establish the winners of the competition and take decisions on the presentation of the prizes and honorable mentions. The decision of the International Board is final.

5. To review the results of the contest.

6. To select selection of the country that will be the organizer of the next contest.

The International Board is the only body that can make decisions prohibiting the participation of countries in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics for Junior for violating these Statutes.

Observers may be present at the meetings of the International Board, but cannot vote or participate in the discussions.


The institution in charge with the Olympiad announces the results and presents the winners of the prizes and diplomas at an official ceremony. It invites representatives of the Ministry and Scientific Institutions organizing the contest closing ceremony.


Long-term work involved in the organization of the Olympiads is coordinated by a "Secretariat for the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics for Juniors". This Secretariat shall consist of the Chairperson and the Secretary. They are chosen by the International Board for a period of five years, when the chairs become vacant.

The Chairperson and the Secretary are members of the International Board, in addition to the ordinary members mentioned # 4. They shall be invited to each International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad for Juniors ensuring all expenses (including travel expenses) in their country.


These Statutes are supplemented by:

  • Regulations on the details of the organization.
  • Syllabus mentioned in # 18


Changes in these Statutes, the introduction of new paragraphs or the exclusion of old ones can only be made by the International Board and require a qualified majority (2/3 of the votes).

Changes to the supplementary material can be made by simple majority (1/2 of the votes).

No changes to these statutes or syllabus may be made unless each delegation has obtained written text of the proposal at least 2 months in advance.


Participation in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics - Juniors means accepting these Statutes by the Ministry of Education of the participating country.


The originals of these Statutes are written in English.

Supplementary Materials

The IOAA-jr banner is made of blue silk fabric. Embroidered on it, in pink thread are the words "IOAA-jr " in capital letters. Above the words IOAA-Jr, a galaxy with 13 spirals is embroidered in a yellow silk thread. On the right side of the galaxy, the globe is embroidered in turquoise thread. Circularly, under the word IOAA-jr, the words “The International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics for Juniors” are written in small white letters. The lower oblique side of the banner is decorated with several white tassels on both sides of the central tassel, which is yellow.

The IOAA-jr logo was designed by Dr. Waspodo of Indonesia. It consists of small letters -"iooa-jr ". All letters are green, except for the second letter, which is a solid orange disc, which presents in the center a white spiral with three upper arms and four lower arms. The dot of the first letter is orange.

The basic model of the IOAA-Jr seal is similar to the logo. Circularly around the logo, as described above, the words "INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIAD ON ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS FOR JUNIORS " are capitalized. A solid dot separates the last letter of the word "ASTROPHYSICS " and the first letter of the word  "INTERNATIONAL ".

The IOAA anthem is a musical work entitled "IRIS", composed by Vassilis Tassoudis from Greece. It was accepted by the International Board on 8 August 2013 at the seventh IOAA in Volos, Greece. The score of this anthem was deposited at the IOAA headquarters.

The banner, logo, seal and anthem of the IOAA-jr are collectively or individually reffered as "IOAA-jr " properties.