TEHRAN, Oct. 19 (Mehr News Agency) -- Coincident with the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), the Third International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) kicked off officially in Tehran on Sunday afternoon.
A number of 20 teams from Belarus, Indonesia, Poland, Bangladesh, Greece, Brazil, Lithuania, China, Sri Lanka, South Korea, India, Cambodia, Slovakia, Bolivia, Serbia, Romania, Kazakhstan, and Thailand, as well as Ukraine are participating in the event.
The teams are mostly composed of five persons.
Organized by the Ministry of Education and the Young Scholars Club, the ten-day competition is in two theoretical and practical sections.
The theoretical competition includes short and long questions and the practical one includes observations and data analysis.
According to IOAA.info, there are 15 short and 2 long questions for the theoretical part. For the practical part, there is a set task on 1) observation, 2) paper-based practical problem, 3) computer-based problem, 4) planetarium simulation or combination of the four, which is expected to be solvable in 5 hours.
The theoretical part makes 60% of the total mark, and the practical part 40% of the total mark. The practical solutions should consist of theoretical analysis (plan and discussion) and practical execution. The solution to each problem should contain an answer and its complete justification.
The competition will run until October 26.
The first IOAA was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in November 2007, and the second was in Bandung city, capital of West Java Province, Indonesia, in August 2008.
Iranian students took two first places in the first Olympiad and a third place in the second Olympiad.
The IOAA is a yearly competition on astronomy and astrophysics for high school students. Each member country takes turn to host this event.
Promoting interests of high school students on astronomy and astrophysics is the main purpose of holding the competition. Through participating in the competitions, students will have opportunities to meet fellow students and make friends. This will lead to good understandings among countries and closer cooperation in future researches.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.
The IYA2009 is a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei.
The aim of IYA2009 is to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover".
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