328 Participants, 46 Teams, 42 Countries – The Biggest IOAA Has Ever Held!

This is where the observation test will take place tonight, July 28, 2015, with the view of Borobudur temple on the top. Image credit: IOAA 2015

This is where the observation test in the 9th IOAA/2015 will take place tonight, July 28, with the view of Borobudur temple on the top. Image credit: IOAA 2015

By: Sahrudin@SahrudinSaja

THE 9TH IOAA (International Olympiad of Astronomy and Astrophysics) has officially opened Monday evening by Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia Anies Baswedan at UNESCO World Heritage Site the Borobudur Temple Compounds.

IOAA is an annual event for highly performed high school students from all around the world in the field of astronomy and astrophysics.

“It is indeed an honor for us to host the olympiad. It is indeed an honor to have participants coming from all over the world”, Mr Baswedan said, adding that, “This olympiad is not only an opportunity to show accomplishment but also to build new generation for a better future for everyone.”

328 participants consisting of 216 students, 26 observers and 86 team leaders divided into 46 teams from 42 countries will compete for medals from Monday, July 27 through Tuesday, August 4, 2015. There are 44 juries and 50 jury assistants in IOAA 2015.

“This may just be the best IOAA we have had and it is also the biggest, with more participants than ever”, Secretary General of the IOAA Dr Grzegorz Stachowski asserted, as reported in Orion – IOAA 2015 Newsletter Volume 1.

Beside Practical Competition (Data Analysis and Observations) and Theoretical Competition, Dr Stachowski explained, this year’s IOAA introduces an online test simulation, in which everything is done in realtime.

It is not without reason that the 9th IOAA is being held in Magelang Regency where Borobudur temple is located.

The story was began when a group of Indonesian researchers presented interesting fieldwork findings on Borobudur temple at the 7th International Conference on Oriental Astronomy 2010 in Tokyo, Japan, and the 11th Asia-Pacific Regional International Astronomical Union Meeting 2011 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The researchers coming from Bandung Technology Institute (ITB), Indonesia’s National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan), and the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) revealed that Borobudur was actually designed as a sundial with the main stupa as the gnomon and the surrounding smaller stupas in the third top terraces as the time markers.

It was known that the sundial (Borobudur’s stupa and the surrounding smaller stupas) fit itself with the Pranotomongso, the ancient Javanese calendar system used by the people of the time period to indicate the phases of agriculture that comprises seasons, rainfall rate, wind direction, and even the swarms of pests.

In the 9th IOAA in Magelang Regency, Indonesia the host country is sending ten selected students (2 teams of 5 students each).

All students had to undergo a series of training, including learning theoretical astronomy and astrophysics, data analysis and using telescope at night.

IOAA was initiated in 2006 by five countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Iran, China and Poland.

The event aims to spread the joy of astronomy among high school students, to foster friendship between young astronomers at international level so as to build cooperation in the field of astronomy in the future among young scholars.

Below is a list of countries that have hosted the IOAA:

The 1st IOAA, November-December 2007, Chiang Mai, Thailand;
The 2nd IOAA, August 2008, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia;
The 3rd IOAA, October 2009, Tehran, Iran;
The 4th, September 2010, Beijing, China;
The 5th, September 2011, Krakow, Poland;
The 6th, August 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
The 7th, August 2013, Volos, Greece; and
The 8th, August 2014, Suceava, Romania.***[alwaysmagelang@gmail.com]

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