Be part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Team of USA at the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad!

Please register at this link.

Registration will close on January 25th, 2019.

You can read more about the tests on our selection process page, and you can find study materials on our resource page. If you have any questions, email us at!

Joseph McCarty (Lubbock High School, TX)  shared his journey and tips to win a gold medal in Beijing last November.

“I first heard about USAAAO my freshman year right before the registration deadline when a friend of mine saw something about it on a MIT mailing list for prospective students. He was somewhat interested in astronomy but he knew I was very interested so he told me about it and we both took the first round that year. I didn’t prepare for the first round and qualified for the NAO thanks to some prior knowledge and educated guesses, but I got the Fundamental Astronomy book mentioned on the USAAAO resources page from a library as I was preparing for the NAO. Still, there wasn’t a lot of time so I didn’t feel very prepared, but much to my surprise I made the training camp. The training camp motivated me a lot to make the team the following year. After being selected, I began preparing for the Olympiad mostly by doing practice problems and thoroughly understanding any part I missed. While there were a lot of problems I didn’t have time to do, the focused work I did definitely paid off at IOAA, and the training we received from our coaches was also very helpful. IOAA was a very fun experience, particularly meeting many other students from around the world with similar interests and getting to know the other people from the USA. It was also my first time traveling outside the country, so it was quite different from anything I had previously done. For people interested in participating, I would recommend spending time on celestial coordinates. A strong background in coordinates will help not only in a lot of theory problems but also in observation. Also, learn a lot about any topic you find fascinating! For me, there were some subjects which I studied in more depth than I needed to for the competition, but doing that helped maintain my excitement and motivation for the other parts of the competition.”


Schedule for USAAAO 2019

We’re excited to announce the schedule for the upcoming USAAAO year!

Dec 1st – Jan 25th: Registration

Jan 26th – Jan 30th: First Round Exam

Mar 2nd – Mar 8th: National Astronomy Olympiad

Aug 2nd – Aug 11th: IOAA

Registration will open in one week on our registration page, so get ready and spread the word! If you want an email announcement, join our mailing list here. The registration fee this year will be $25, however we will accept financial aid requests via email.

You can read more about the tests on our selection process page, and you can find study materials on our resource page. If you have any questions, email us at!



Historical Results for USA Astronomy and Astrophysics Team in the International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics!

Over three hundred students from thirty-eight countries competed in the 12th International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics in Beijing, China from November 3rd through 11th. The American team achieved its best result since its first participation seven years ago, with four medals and an honorable mention:

Joseph McCarty (Lubbock High School, TX) — gold medal

Vincent Bian (Poolesville High School, MD) — gold medal and special award for highest score in the theoretical exam

April Cheng (Canyon Crest Academy, CA) — silver medal

Sahil Pontula (Enloe High School, NC) — bronze medal

Andy Zhu (Canyon Crest Academy, CA) — honorable mention

David Yue (Texas Academy of Math and Science, TX) — due to sickness arrived late to the competition.IMG_20181111_113134.jpg

These achievements are all the more remarkable considering that the USA team never met in person before the competition. Training was conducted by volunteer mentors through video calls with the team members. Instruction in theoretical problems was provided by from the team leaders Natasa Dragovic (University of Texas at Austin) and Ioana Zelko (Harvard University). Prof. Blagoy Rangelov (from Texas State University) and local astronomical societies helped students with the observational round. Prof. David Fallest (from North Carolina State University) helped students with data analysis. Sahil Pontula would also like to thank the Raleigh Astronomy Club and Mr. Doug Lively for their support in his endeavors.

The USA team was selected by volunteer members of the USAAAO (USA Astronomy and Astrophysics Organization) based on candidates’ results in a selection exam. The next IOAA will take place in Hungary in August 2019. The USAAAO will soon open registration for the 2019 First Round Exam. Anyone  interested in competing, should sign up at


The USAAAO team is entirely self-funded and does not receive any support from the United States government. Donations to the team are welcomed via GoFundMe at We need all the help we can get to send our team to the competition!


Support Team USA in the 12th IOAA (Nov 3 – 11)

Cheer on Team USA as they compete in the 12th IOAA in China from November 3rd to 11th! Six students from all around the US will be traveling to China for the next week to compete against top students from other countries. You can learn more about USA Astronomy and Astrophysics team here!

Please also consider contributing to our gofundme campaign <>! We need all the help we can get to send our team to the competition!

Help USA Astronomy and Astrophysics Team travel to China for the 2018 IOAA!


Last year, with your support, USA Astronomy and Astrophysics Team traveled to Thailand and placed 2nd overall in the 2017 IOAA! This year, we hope to travel to China for the 2018 IOAA. As a completely volunteer organization, we’ve unfortunately been unable to find corporate sponsorship, so we’ve started a gofundme campaign <>. Your support can not only help the current team but also inspire future team members to attend the Olympiad without having to worry about finance. As an education organization, the USAAAO strongly believes that nobody should be barred from participating in events because of their financial status. 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.

Congratulations to the 2018 US IOAA Team!

Thanks to all the students and teachers that participated in the 2018 USAAAO! This year, the IOAA will be held in China from November 3rd to November 11th. Representing the US will be:

  • Andy Zhu (Canyon Crest Academy, CA)
  • April Cheng (Canyon Crest Academy, CA)
  • Ben Choi* (Lexington High School, MA)
  • David Yue (Texas Academy of Math and Science (TAMS), TX)
  • Joseph McCarty (Lubbock High School, TX)
  • Sahil Pontula (Enloe High School, NC)
  • Vincent Bian (Poolesville High School, MD)

Ioana Zelko and Natasa Dragovic will attend as team leaders.

We hope to post this year’s exams and solutions soon, so keep an eye on our Past Exams page!

*Unable to attend the IOAA due to college constraints