Careers in Astronomy

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When people think of astronomy, they often think of stargazing and the many beautiful images that come from telescopes. However, astronomy is a science. That means astronomy is a lot of hard work and a lot of math.

Astronomers spend most of their time working with computers. (Credit: ESO/H.H.Heyer)Credit: ESO/H.H.Heyer

Astronomers and Telescope Operators in the VLTI control room. Astronomers spend most of their time working with computers.
When many people picture an astronomer at work, they think of someone huddling in a cold, dark observatory, squinting through a telescope. Luckily, this is one hardship astronomers no longer have to endure. Astronomers spend very little of their time observing at telescopes. At the observatory, the telescope and camera are controlled usually by computers in a warm, well-lit room, with a coffee maker or tea kettle right at hand.

Astronomers spend most of their time analyzing data with computers. They also are often teachers at colleges and universities.

If you need to interview an astronomer for a school project:

Please remember that, as stated in the Rules this is not the best place to find an astronomer to interview. We are graduate students who volunteer our time to answer questions, and interviews can be very time-consuming. If you cannot find anyone else to interview, keep in mind that we can take as long as a few weeks to answer questions, and sometimes we simply cannot answer all the email that we receive. You are much more likely to get a prompt answer if you:

  • Read the previously answered questions and do not duplicate them!
  • Only send a small number of well thought-out questions.

Teachers who would like assign students to use the Curious website should read our Guidelines for Teachers page.

 Questions About Careers in Astronomy

  • General Questions
  • Becoming an Astronomer
  • Being an Astronomer
  • The Ask an Astronomer team's favorite links about Careers in Astronomy:

    This page was last updated on February 18, 2016.

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