US Team Places 2nd Overall in Thailand!

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Forty-four countries competed in the 11th IOAA in Phuket, Thailand from November 12th – 21st. Team USA placed 2nd out of the 44 countries, taking 2 gold medals and 3 honorable mentions:

Hagan Hensley — Gold Medal

Jason Yang — Gold Medal

Siddharth Sridhar — Honorable Mention

Andy Zhu — Honorable Mention

Shubhanga Ballal — Honorable Mention

This is the best Team USA result to date and it comes in no small part to amazing guidance and training from team leaders Roxana Pop and Ioana Zelko. We’re very excited the upcoming year of astronomy and astrophysics olympiads! We hope to open registration for the 2018 First Round Exam soon, so stay tuned! If you’re interested in competing in the future, sign up for our mailing list from the Registration page.

Help fund the US team’s trip to Thailand!

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Please consider helping the USAAAO fund the US team‘s trip to the IOAA this year! We’ve started a campaign at https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/usa-team-at-international-astrophysics-olympiad to raise money for the travel costs as well as other USAAAO costs like a team t-shirt and training camp resources. We’re a completely volunteer-run organization and have had little luck with corporate sponsorship, so any help is appreciated! Feel free to donate through the campaign link above and email us at info@usaaao.org if you have any questions.
Our fundraising is supported by and done through the American Association of Variable Star Observers (https://www.aavso.org/). The AAVSO is an international non-profit organization of variable star observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy. The funds raised through this fundraising will be given to and used solely by the USAAAO to cover travel costs to the IOAA, the training camps, and miscellaneous items such as T-shirts for the team.

Training Camp Success!

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Huge thanks to senior lecturer Amanda Bosh from the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Department for being the lead organizer of the training camp! It was an intense week of lectures, exams, and practice, going from classroom to observatory to planetarium, but we enjoyed teaching and getting to know everyone and we hope all the participants enjoyed it too.

Check out this article written about the training camp: http://news.mit.edu/2017/training-students-eyes-on-skies-mit-astronomy-camp-0810

Next year, we hope to continue our strong relationship with MIT and use the training camp as a selection camp for the US IOAA team.

For now, we’ll be looking forward to preparing the current team for the IOAA in November!

Meet the Team!

We’re excited to announce the 2017 US team for the 11th IOAA:
Shubhanga Ballal
Hagan Hensley
Siddharth Sridar
Jason Yang
Andy Zhu
For more info, see The Team.

The team, along with the following students, will attend a training camp at MIT from July 23-29.
Pranai Basani
Bhavesh Kalisetti
Joseph McCarty
Karan Mahesh
William Qian
Sidhant Rastogi
Adam Rebei
Eugene Shao
Eric Yang
Dean Zhou

USAAAO 2017 Conclusion

Thank you to all the students who participated in the USAAAO this year and all the proctors who helped administer tests and for everyone’s patience in the process. We had 222 participants this year, 47 of whom were invited to take the NAO.

Out of 90 points, the mean score on the NAO was a 34.06 with a median of 30.5 and standard deviation of 16.40. Based on results, we’ve invited 5 students to represent the USA at the 11th IOAA in November (more information on the team to come soon). Additionally, we have invited the following students (in alphabetic order) to participate in a training camp at MIT in July:

Shubhanga Ballal
April Cheng
David Deng
Hagan Hensley
Rinik Kumar
Karan Mahesh
Joseph McCarty
Sahil Patel
Sidhant Rastogi
Adam Rebei
Eugene Shao
Siddharth Sridar
Jeffrey Tao
Eric Yang
Jason Yang
Dean Zhou
Andy Zhu

Solutions to all the exams from this year are now posted on our Past Exams page. If you’d like to join our mailing list to make sure you get updates about future competitions see our Registration page. As always, let us know if you have any questions at info@usaaao.org.

National Astronomy Olympiad

We invited almost 50 students to participate in the National Astronomy Olympiad from May 15-19. This year, the exam was a 3 hour written exam (to be posted soon). Thanks to all the proctors who helped us administer the tests and to all the participants who sat for the exam. At the moment, all tests have been submitted and we are in the process of grading, so check back for updates soon!

First Round Results

Again thanks to everyone who participated in the First Round of the 2017 USAAAO this year! We had a really competitive group this year, with an average of 15.5 and standard deviation of 5. Based the scores, the exam, and the number of participants we’ve chosen a cutoff score of 20. You should’ve received an email with your score as well as whether or not you qualified for the NAO. If you didn’t, send us an email at info@usaaao.org.

We’ll try to have the solutions up ASAP.

Here’s a histogram of the results:

Screenshot from 2017-05-06 19:00:43