Career outlook for astronomer
UK Salary Ranges
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
You would observe and study huge stars and planets or tiny particles in space to help us understand more about how the universe works.
You'd take part in big research projects to look at objects and events in space. You'd collect data from the research and work out what it tells us about the origin and structure of the universe.
You'd use computers, optical and radio telescopes, spectroscopes, satellites, spacecraft and space probes to collect and analyse information.
- Set up instruments to observe and measure features in space
- Chart the appearance, position and movement, and structures of the sun, stars, planets and galaxies
- Measure radiation coming from stars, planets, quasars and other matter in space
- Develop models and use computer programs to interpret your findings
- Describe and explain your findings
- Make predictions and test them, perhaps developing new instruments or software for this
- Keep detailed logs and records, and write reports
- Keep the observatory in good condition and supervise the way it is run
You might specialise in observational and theoretical astronomy or focus on a particular topic, like planetary science or the formation of galaxies.
As well as working in laboratories and observatories, you could also work in a museum or planetarium, or teach and carry out research at a university.
You'd normally study for a postgraduate qualification such as a PhD when you are working as a professional astronomer. You'd go to conferences and keep up to date with new ideas and evidence.
UK employment status
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- Working with technology
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
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