Overview and Key Facts
Doctoral or professional degree
(Below US Average)
Jobs in 2029
What Do They Do?An astronomer could...
Help plan a voyage to another planet or the moon and explain the mission to the public.
Determine the composition of a planet, its atmosphere, and its moons.
Investigate how galaxies are formed and if supermassive black holes live at their centers.
Use sensitive radio telescopes to spot comets and asteroids with the potential to impact Earth.
Listen to this section
Astronomers think big! They want to understand the entire universe—the nature of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies, and everything in between. An astronomer's work can be pure science—gathering and analyzing data from instruments and creating theories about the nature of cosmic objects—or the work can be applied to practical problems in space flight and navigation, or satellite communications.
Listen to this section
Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of an Astronomer?
- Reading Comprehension: ? Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Science: ? Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking: ? Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing: ? Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Listening: ? Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Active Learning: ? Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Mathematics: ? Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Speaking: ? Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making: ? Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Learning Strategies: ? Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Core TasksThink about if you'd like the typical tasks an Astronomer might do:
- Mentor graduate students and junior colleagues.
- Present research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals.
- Analyze research data to determine its significance, using computers.
- Collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects.
- Study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.
- Supervise students' research on celestial and astronomical phenomena.
- Raise funds for scientific research.
- Teach astronomy or astrophysics.
- Develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.
- Measure radio, infrared, gamma, and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources.
- Review scientific proposals and research papers.
- Develop theories based on personal observations or on observations and theories of other astronomers.
- Calculate orbits and determine sizes, shapes, brightness, and motions of different celestial bodies.
- Serve on professional panels and committees.
- Develop and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation.
Please create a free account to view this career and access our full library of over 160 STEM careers.
With a free account you will have access to our full library of over 160 STEM careers. Each career profile includes detailed information to help you learn about a career and the requirements to get there. You can explore:
- salary information by state
- recommended high school coursework
- fun projects and activities to test out a career
- videos and interviews with professionals in the field
- details on what a day on the job is like