BAAO Astro Challenge (Y13 and below)

Competition date: Any time from Wednesday 1st Nov 2023 to Friday 15th Dec 2023

Competition details


The Astro Challenge is a single, one-hour paper that provides an excellent tool to assess and challenge students' ability to work at Key Stage 5 and beyond. It is a mix of questions on astronomy and physics that allows students to analyse data through to a conclusion, including concepts seen in physics being applied to astrophysical contexts. The syllabus and self-study guides are given further down this page.

The structure of the paper is 10 multiple-choice questions (or which about half are on observational astronomy and at least one is on recent astro news), two short 5-mark questions, and a choice of one of two longer 10-mark more challenging questions.

Past papers can be found under the Past Papers menu.

To order visit the Competitions platform (from September). Once all scripts are marked, we would be grateful if teachers filled in the feedback form accessible from the Astro Challenge page on the Competition platform.

Update for 2023 onwards: The Astro Challenge is no longer a route to Astro Round 2 and has been simplified to increase the number of distinctions. There is no longer a need for a scan of distinction scripts to be submitted – simply record them on the online form linked in the Competition platform.

Syllabus and Documents

The core topics are:

Further details are given in the BAAO Syllabus, and self-study guides are provided for astrophysics material that may be unfamiliar from A Level as well as a complete guide to the observational astronomy needed for the Astro Challenge (assuming no prior knowledge).

Finally, below are the title page, constants page and formulae page from the 2023 paper to show what will be given.