Astronomer Job Description

May 29, 20120 Comments

Astronomer Job Profile and Description

A research-intensive occupation, astronomers are almost perennially conducting research work to understand the universe and everything in it. Often using giant telescopes in observatories, these scientists observe, measure, hypothesize, and develop theories to explain celestial and cosmic phenomena using the known laws of physics and mathematics.

Astronomer Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct research work on cosmic and celestial formations and phenomena using a variety of space-borne and ground-based telescopes and other scientific instruments.
  • Conduct research on the fundamental properties of the natural physical world with the purpose of applying research findings in the design and development of new technologies.
  • Present astronomical research findings at scientific conferences and seminars or have them published in reputable scientific journals.
  • Measure radio, gamma, infrared and x-ray emissions emanating from celestial sources.
  • Develop hypothesis and theories based on solid verifiable observations or with collaboration with other astronomers.
  • Attend seminars and symposia administered by NASA.
  • Collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects.
  • Develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.
  • Conduct classes and lectures on astrophysics and astronomy.
  • Design, develop and modify space science programs for public presentation.

Astronomer Skills and Specifications

  • Should have the unique analytical and deductive reasoning abilities
  • Should have excellent organizational skills for sorting through research data
  • Should have strong inquisitive and investigative abilities
  • Should have excellent oral and written communication skills

Astronomer Education and Qualifications

  • A master’s degree in Astronomy with a BS background in mathematics and the physical sciences is essential for a position in research or the academe.
  • A PhD in the same field is an advantage.
  • 5-7 years of experience in the research or teaching faculty gives an added advantage

Astronomer Salary

The average annual salary of astronomers is $110,000 with the middle 50% receiving between $65,000 and $135,000. The bottom 10% earned about $50,000 while the top 10% received about $160,000.

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