General Notes:

1. Extensive contents in basic astronomical concepts are required in theoretical and practical problems.

2. Basic concepts in physics and mathematics at high school level are required in solving the problems. Standard solutions should not involve use of calculus and/or the use of complex numbers and/or solving differential equations.

3. Astronomical software packages may be used in practical and observational prob- lems. The contestants will be informed the list of software packages to be used at least 3 months in advance. The chosen software packages should be preferably freewares or low-cost ones enabling all countries to obtain them easily for prac- tice purpose. The chosen softwares should preferably be available on multiple OSs (Windows / Unix / GNU-Linux / Mac).

4. Concepts and phenomena not included in the Syllabus may be used in questions but sufficient information must be given in the questions so that contestants without previous knowledge of these topics would not be at a disadvantage.

5. Sophisticated practical equipments likely to be unfamiliar to the candidates should not dominate a problem. If such devices are used in the questions, sufficient infor- mation must be provided. In such case, students should be given opportunity to familiarise themselves with such equipments.

6. The original texts of the problems have to be set in the SI units, wherever applicable. Participants will be expected to mention appropriate units in their answers and should be familiar with the idea of correct rounding off and expressing the final result(s) and error(s) with correct number of significant digits.


Theoretical Part

Symbol (Q) is attached to some topics in the list. It means “qualitative understanding only”. Quantitative reasoning / proficiency in these topics is not mandatory.

The following theoretical contents are proposed for the contestants.


Basic Astrophysics




Celestial Mechanics

Newton’s Laws of Gravitation, Kepler’s Laws for cir-

cular and non-circular orbits, Roche limit, barycentre, 2-body problem,   Lagrange points

Electromagnetic Theory & Quan-

tum Physics

Electromagnetic spectrum, Radiation Laws, Black-

body radiation


Thermodynamic equilibrium, Ideal gas, Energy   trans-


Spectroscopy and Atomic Physics

Absorption, Emission, Scattering, Spectra of   Celestial

objects,   Doppler effect, Line formations, Continuum spectra, Splitting and Broadening   of spectral lines, polarisation

Nuclear Physics

Basic concepts including structure of atom, Mass de-

fect and binding energy Radioactivity, Neutrinos  (Q)


Coordinates and Times




Celestial Sphere

Spherical trigonometry, Celestial coordinates and

their applications, Equinox and Solstice, Circumpo- lar stars,   Constellations and Zodiac

Concept of Time

Solar time, Sidereal time, Julian date,   Heliocentric

Julian   date, Time zone, Universal Time, Local Mean Time, Different definitions of   “year”, Equation of time


Solar System




The Sun

Solar structure, Solar surface activities, Solar   rota-

tion,   Solar radiation and Solar constant, Solar neutri- nos (Q), Sun-Earth   relations, Role of magnetic fields (Q), Solar wind and radiation pressure,   Heliosphere (Q), Magnetosphere (Q)

The Solar System

Earth-Moon System, precession, nutation,   libration,

Formation and evolution of the Solar   System (Q), Structure and   components of the Solar System (Q), Structure and orbits of the Solar System objects, Side- real and Synodic periods,   Retrograde motion, Outer reaches of the solar system (Q)

Space Exploration

Satellite trajectories and transfers, Human   explo-

ration   of the Solar System (Q), planetary missions (Q), Sling-shot effect of   gravity, Space-based instru- ments (Q)


Tides, Seasons, Eclipses, Aurorae (Q), Meteor   Show-







Stellar Properties

Methods of Distance determination, Radiation,   Lumi-

nosity   and magnitude, Color indices and temperature, Determination of radii and   masses, Stellar motion, Ir- regular and regular stellar variabilities - broad   classi- fication & properties, Cepheids & period-luminosity relation,   Physics of pulsation (Q)

Stellar Interior and Atmospheres

Stellar equilibrium, Stellar nucleosynthesis,   Energy

transportation (Q), Boundary conditions, Stellar at- mospheres and   atmospheric spectra

Stellar Evolution

Stellar formation, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, Pre-

Main   Sequence, Main Sequence, Post-Main Sequence   stars, supernovae, planetary nebulae, End states of stars


Stellar Systems




Binary Star Systems

Different types of binary stars, Mass   determination in

binary   star systems, Light and radial velocity curves of eclipsing binary systems,   Doppler shifts in binary systems, interacting binaries, peculiar binary   systems


Techniques used to detect exoplanets

Star Clusters

Classification and Structure, Mass, age,   luminosity

and distance determination

Milky Way Galaxy

Structure and composition, Rotation, Satellites   of

Milky Way (Q)

Interstellar Medium

Gas (Q), dust (Q), HII regions, 21cm radiation,   neb-

ulae   (Q), interstellar absorption, dispersion measure, Faraday rotation


Classifications based on structure, composition   and

activity, Mass, luminosity and distance determina- tion, Rotation   curves

Accretion Processes

Basic concepts (spherical and disc accretion)   (Q), Ed-

dington luminosity






Elementary Cosmology

Expanding    Universe  and  Hubble’s    Law,  Cluster of

galaxies,   Dark matter, Dark energy (Q), Gravita- tional lensing, Cosmic Microwave Background Radi- ation, Big   Bang (Q), Alternative models of the Uni- verse (Q), Large scale structure   (Q), Distance mea- surement at cosmological scale, cosmological redshift

Instrumentation and Space Technologies




Multi-wavelength Astronomy

Observations in radio, microwave, infrared,   visible,

ultraviolet,   X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelength bands, Earth’s atmospheric effects


Telescopes  and detectors (e.g.     charge-coupled de-

vices,   photometers, spectrographs), Magnification, Focal   length, Focal ratio,   resolving and light- gathering powers of    telescopes,  Geometric  model of two   element interferometer, Aperture synthesis, Adaptive optics,   photometry, astrometry


Practical Part

This part consists of 2 sections: observations and data analysis sections. The theoretical part of the Syllabus provides the basis for all problems in the practical part.

The observations section focuses on contestant’s experience in

1. naked-eye observations,

2. usage of sky maps and catalogues,

3. application of coordinate systems in the sky, magnitude estimation, estimation of angular separation

4. usage of basic astronomical instruments-telescopes and various detectors for obser- vations but enough instructions must be provided to the contestants. Observational objects may be from real sources in the sky or imitated sources in the laboratory. Computer simulations may be used in the problems but sufficient instructions must be provided to the contestants.

The data analysis section focuses on the calculation and analysis of the astronomical data provided in the problems. Additional requirements are as follows:

1. Proper identification of error sources, calculation of errors, and estimation of their influence on the final results.

2. Proper use of graph papers with different scales, e.g., polar and logarithmic pa- pers. Transformation of the data to get a linear plot and finding “Best Fit” line approximately.

3. Basic statistical analysis of the observational data.

4. Knowledge of the most common experimental techniques for measuring physical quantities mentioned in Part A.