The International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics, or IOAA, is an annual event in which high school students from around the world compete against each other, solving theoretical, analytical and observational problems in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. The 5th IOAA was held in Poland from 25th August to 3rd September 2011, in and around the cities of Katowice, Chorzów and Kraków.
Despite being relatively young compared to the other recognized International Science Olympiads (the first was held in 2007), the high standards of the Olympiad and the work it does to promote astronomy education, particularly in regions with emerging astronomy programmes, have gained the support of the President and Commission 46 of International Astronomical Union and of national governments of participating countries. The organisation and statues of the IOAA are based on those of the long-running International Physics Olympiad.
Each IOAA is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Education of the host country and lasts for ten days. Participating countries each send one team of up to five students (still attending or having just finished high school) and two adult team leaders, who approve the problems and translate them into the native languages of the students. Accomodation and participation costs during the ten days are covered by the organisers for the seven team members. Teams pay for travel to the host country, and for any extra persons ('observers') or accomodation beyond this period.
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