British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad

British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad

The British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad is 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 core physics, with extra detail being supplied in the question.

The students are encouraged to take the Astronomy & Astrophysics Challenge Paper in September/October, but are required to take the BPhO Round 1 Paper in November.** The top 14 students are invited to the Oxford Training Camp at Easter. The final selection of the five students who will represent UK at the IOAA will take place at the Easter camp

If schools have a few keen astronomers, students prepared for this competition paper, then they can request to participate for a small fee.


Working through past papers is good preparation for these extended problems in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
There are extra topics which you will need to be acquainted with and to have worked through problems on. Details are given in the document
Preparation for the BAAO Paper Jan 2021.pdf

At the next level, but not required for this paper, is a new, very reasonably priced book focused on the material for the IOAA. It approaches topics mathematically and is for students interested in going beyond the wonderful but frequently descriptive approach of many texts aimed at astronomy students. The mathematical level is such that an A level student will be able to step beyond their current knowledge with confidence.

SALVATI, Flavio, Fundamentals of Astronomy: A guide for Olympiads, Independently published (22. September 2020), ISBN 979-868-87-9143-3

Award allocation

Certificates are awarded to the students in approximately the following categories:

Gold Silver Bronze Commendations

A presentation ceremony at The Royal Society takes place in April for top students who are selected for the Oxford Training Camp.

Documents and ordering papers

The printed paper will be sent out by post to the Teacher registered with us for this competition the week before the paper is to be sat. Please keep this paper secure and do not show it to the Department before the paper has been sat by students.

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

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