The National Astronomy Olympiad Program is especially for the students who are passionate and have strong basics in the Physics and Mathematics subjects. These students are motivated to develop their interest in Astronomy and pursue their career in this field. This programme consists of 5 stages, after completion of which the student represents Indian team in International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA).

The Five Stages are :

  • Stage 1 – National Standard Examination in Astronomy (NSEA).

  • Stage 2 – Indian National Astronomy Olympiad (INAO).

  • Stage 3 – Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in astronomy.

  • Stage 4 – Pre-departure Training Camp (PDT) for IOAA.

  • Stage 5 – International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA).



  • Copyright © NSEA is the stepping stage for selection of aspiring and talented students in the astronomy Olympiad Programme. This exam is conducted by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) at many centers all over the country. The student can move forward to other stages only after clearing this stage.


    The syllabus for National Standard Examination in Astronomy (NSEA) is almost similar as the curriculum of senior secondary level (Class XI and Class XII) of CBSE. However, only basic guideline for the course is mentioned. No detailed syllabus is given for NSEA. There will be greater emphasis on physics and mathematics (calculus not expected) and elementary astronomy.


    NSEA emphasizes comprehension of the subject, not rote memory. Its format will be as follows: The medium of test will be English and will be comprising of 80 objective type questions, each with only one of the four options correct.


    The basic objective of conducting this test is not focusing on merit but to involve as many students from the country to participate in the exam and try to show and expose their talent. Hence the selection to the stage II examinations i.e.. Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.

    Eligibility Clause: To be eligible to get to the next level, i.e.. The second stage, it is necessary that a student scores atleast a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) which is 40% of the maximum score in that subject.

    Proportional Representation Clause: The maximum number of students that can get to Stage II (INO) in each subject is around 300. These many students are not selected only on the merit basis but also on proportionate basis. This proportion is decided on the base of the number of candidates who appeared for NSE in the previous year from that centre in each State or Union Territory (UT).

    In case there is a tie at the last position, then all the students competing for the last position will be eligible to move to stage II. However its necessary that the selected students fulfill the eligibility clause laid out above.

    The total number to be selected from centers in each State for each subject will be displayed on the IAPT and HBCSE websites.

    Minimum Representation Clause: Notwithstanding the proportional representation clause the number of students selected for INO from each State and UT must be at least one, provided that the eligibility clause is satisfied.

    Merit Clause: As stated above, approximately 300 students are to be selected for second stage. If this does not happen according to MAS, then after selection as per merit, the shortfall from 300 students will be selected based purely on merit without further consideration to proportional representation and minimum representation clauses. In the event of a tie at the last position in the list all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the Stage II examination. There will be no other criterion or provision for selection to the Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs).

    All students who qualify to appear for the INAO get a certificate of merit from IAPT.


  • INAO test is conducted by HBCSE at approximate 15 centres in the country.


    The eligibility criteria for participating in the INAO exam are:

    • Students who are chosen from Stage I examination (NSEA).

    • Students who have been who have been exempted as described in the Enrollment page.

    These are the two ways by which students can apply for the test.

    The test is usually conducted in the month of February every year. The final date and timings are displayed in the first week of January on the website. It is also conveyed to students by post who have applied through post. Students appearing for INAO are eligible for TA/DA as per norms of the programme.


  • OCSC in astronomy is organized by HBCSE every year tentatively in April or May for couple of weeks. The final dates and schedule is announced either before or with the display of the selection list for the OCSC.


    Students who have cleared Stage II (INAO) are only eligible for the camp. There is no other way through which you can get into the camp.

    The camps involve thorough understanding of topics through theoretical as well as practical i.e.. Experimental tests and lectures.

    At the beginning of the function, orientation is provided to students while the programme ends with a valedictory function where distinguished scientists are invited to speak to the students.

    The students are ranked on the basis of the total scores achieved in all the tests in the camp. For this ranking, 50% weightage is given to theoretical tests, 30% weightage is given to data analysis test while 20% weightage is given to the observational tests. Performance in previous stages (NSEA and INAO) are not considered for the preparation of the merit list and awards of the OCSC astronomy.

    The top 5 in the OCSC astronomy merit list will be special merit awardees and will be members of the Indian team for IOAA. All the selected students will become part of the Indian teams only if they satisfy the eligibility criteria of age, Class, holding valid Indian passport, medical fitness, parental consent, etc.

    Apart from selection to the Indian teams, the selected students will be awarded with a special merit award of Rs. 5, 000 each in the form of books and cash.


  • The selected Indian teams for IOAA will undergo a rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory, data analysis and observational astronomy. Trained personnels and eminent personalities will be faculties to train the team of students.

    The duration of training will be subject to IOAA regulations.


    • The 2 leaders and 1 observer (if any) for IOAA will accompany the Indian team.