When you think of astronomers, do you picture someone like this?
Looking through a telescope is only part of the way astronomers study the Universe.
So what do they do?
Astronomers are physicists that study:
how the Universe works including stars, planets, and galaxies
the origins and structure of the Universe
They do this through observation, not just from telescopes but from satellites and spacecrafts too.
Where Do Astronomers Work?
Offices: Astronomers who work for governments, universities or private industry will spend the majority of their time in offices - analyzing data or preparing reports
Classrooms: About 55% of Astronomers work at universities where teaching is their main focus
Laboratories: Astronomers might work in laboratories with sophisticated computer technology to do their data analysis
Observatories: Astronomers work in observatories some of the time, but not much. They might spend 10-30 nights a year gathering data in observatories
Will It Pay My Earth Bills?
Canada: Average yearly salary for an astronomer is $97,767
USA: Average yearly salary for an astronomer is $88,644
What Skills Do Astronomers Need?
Computer and engineering skills
Astronomers may spend a significant amount of time programming and building instruments to help them analyze the Universe.
Scientific writing skills
They will write scientific papers and reports to explain their work.
Public speaking skills
Astronomers need to present their findings at conferences in front of large audiences.
What Qualifications Do Astronomers Need?
An Undergraduate degree in a Physics-related subject
A Master’s degree in a Physics or Astronomy subject
A Ph.D. in a specialization such as radio, solar, cosmos, or galactic astronomy
You Will Love Being An Astronomer If...
You are logical and analytical
You enjoy problem-solving
You can explain complex subjects verbally and in writing
Tatiana is in High School and is interested in becoming an Astronomer. What are some of the ways she could practice the skills required for her future?
Look For Another Career Path If…
You don’t like the idea of sitting at a computer for most of the day
You don't enjoy traveling and talking about your work
You don’t like the idea of doing a lot of paperwork
Pick The Future Astronomer
loves learning new things but wants to start working after high school
loves the outdoors but prefers to go on vacation near his home
likes creative writing but is not detail-oriented.
likes learning about how things work
disassembles household objects to put them back together again
loves to talk to her friends about what she's learned and is building a website to keep track of these projects
loves arts and crafts
enjoys helping her mother plant flowers in their garden
likes school but dislikes spending time indoors writing essays
prefers outdoor sports like soccer and tennis
Who do you think would be most likely to make a good future Astronomer?
If you want to find out more about becoming an astronomer, follow these steps: