Astronomers observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.
Astronomers use ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments to study celestial phenomena. Astronomer scientists use computers to analyze the significance of research data, collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects and present their research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals.
Astronomer scientists may develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis, develop theories based on personal observations or observations and theories of other astronomers, calculate orbits and determine sizes, shapes, brightness, and motions of different celestial bodies, and review scientific proposals and research papers. They may also mentor graduate students and junior colleagues.
To become an astronomer, a doctoral degree or post-doctoral training with extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required. An astronomer scientist needs skills like time management, judgement and decision making, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, social perceptiveness, management of personnel resources and financial resources, negotiation, persuasion, operation analysis, service orientation and system analysis.
Astronomer scientists need knowledge of physics, chemistry, mathematics, computers and electronics, engineering and technology and also education and training. They should be capable of mathematical reasoning, originality, problem sensitivity, perceptual speed and visualisation.
Astronomer scientists work at observatories, in private aerospace firms and research departments at universities. An astronomer’s salary is commensurate to the nature of the job.
A successful astronomer scientist thinks analytically and pays attention to detail.
Every career requires an element of study and academic qualification, and there can be several study routes and pathways you can take. In following any academic pathway you will study subjects that contribute to the specialised knowledge required to achieve your career goals. These qualifications provide a future employer with the evidence that you have the desired knowledge, understanding and experience of their industry, so it’s important to consider the various types of qualifications available to you and to understand how they can boost your career and create opportunities for you.
Subscribe to our Premium package and you'll unlock a wealth of extra information about your favourite careers and gain access our library of immersive 360° VR careers experience.
As a Premium user you'll find out more about the day-to-day demands of any career, what you could earn and, importantly, receive expert advice on study routes, preparation expenses, and where & what to study to fulfil your potential.