Astrophysics Challenge (Year 13 and below)

Astrophysics Challenge (Year 13 and below)

Competition date: Any time from Friday 6th Sept 2021 to Friday 3rd Dec 2021
Papers returned: For a Distinction: >60%, these papers should be posted off to the BPhO by Friday 22nd Oct 2021

Competition details


A mixture of astronomy and physics to allow students to analyse observational data through to a conclusion. Physics ideas applied to the wider universe in a problem solving context. Based on astronomy observing and core physics (Doppler Effect, Kepler’s Third Law, Newton’s Law of Gravitation, Hubble’s Law, resolution).

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 consists of ~10 minutes of thought-provoking multiple choice questions, followed by a short answers section that tests subject knowledge and application.

Papers and mark scheme are sent to teachers on receipt of an entry form. After completion, teachers mark the scripts. Distinction and Merit Certificates are issued to students reaching a threshold mark. Participation Certificates issued to all students taking part.

Distinction: Papers over 60% should be submitted to the BPhO office by Friday 22nd October 2021. These students are invited to take part in the BAAO Competition Paper in January.

Documents and ordering papers

Past papers can be found on the Past papers and resources page.

To order visit the online store (from September).

The theory used in the exam is based on Kepler’s Third Law used in its slightly wider context of eliptical rather than just circular orbits. Application is quite direct, and numerous example can be found in past papers. Magnitudes and the use of logarithms to evaluate them are necessary.
The data page from this year’s paper is provided here
Title page.pdf

Constants page.pdf

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