Registration is now open.
Registration will close on February 9th, 2020.
Our two time silver medalist April Cheng shared her experience with the USAAAO and gave few helpful tips:
“I had always been interested in the cosmos. Having heard of the Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Math Olympiads, I wondered if there was one for astronomy; I found from a google search that there was indeed an Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad, which the USA had just entered a few years before. At first, I prepared using problems from past exams, from the first round to the NAC to past IOAA problems. With that knowledge, some physics and astrophysics background from Science Olympiad, and a bit of luck, I qualified to the 2018 USA IOAA team. After meeting my coaches and teammates and realizing I was missing a lot of fundamental physics and astrophysics concepts, I began studying using various textbooks including An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, An Introduction to Cosmology, Astronomical Problems, and Introduction to Classical Mechanics, as well as star maps from software like Stellarium and In-The-Sky. I ended up qualifying to both the 2018 and 2019 USA IOAA teams and attending the competitions in Beijing and Keszthely. If I were to give advice to someone taking the exam, I would suggest ensuring a strong foundation in physics, at least in the topics that are tested.
For me, the Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad was a truly transformative experience. I was at first strictly interested in astronomy, but studying for the Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad fostered a curiosity for physics and mathematics as well. The problems showed me that all the astronomical phenomena that I knew–from the varying altitudes of stars at different latitudes to the expansion of the universe–was governed by laws which we could model and make calculations. But above all, I’m most grateful for the opportunity the Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad gave me to meet the amazing people I did. My teammates, my coaches, and my fellow competitors from all over the world became my close friends, bonded by shared experiences and a passion for physics and astronomy. IOAA 2018 and 2019 will surely be among my most cherished memories of high school.”