Have planets, black holes, and meteors always piqued your interest? If yes, you should look into working in the field of astronomy. To become an astronomer, you’ll need to complete a few crucial steps, whether you want to work in a local laboratory or at NASA with some of the country’s top astronomers.
What is an astronomer?
Astronomers investigate anything in the universe, from black holes to planetary systems, using physics, logic, and instruments. Astronomy requires teamwork between scientists, either in an office or in an observatory to gather, record, and publish their research. Most astronomers will find one specialization to focus on such as planetary physics, quantum mechanics, celestial body, history, and the future of the universe or the sun.
What does an astronomer do?
Basically, Astronomer is a science job so they will do science things:
Astronomers help people to explore more about the universe, develop new scientific theories by using tests and proof.
Write research proposals
While many astronomy labs are funded by the federal government, most astronomy teams do not have the resources to pursue their passions. Instead, astronomers must submit thorough research proposals to propose their study goals to their leadership for financing after they develop their theories.
Gather and analyze data
Astronomers spend most of their time gathering data, often through operating telescopes, using powerful cameras, or developing and testing complex models using computer programs. After that they come to a scientific conclusion about the phenomenon.
Publish research papers
After conducting much research, astronomers will write a thorough research report outlining their methods and conclusions in order to improve everyone’s comprehension of the issue.
Present their findings
Astronomy conferences will be held for many researchers to gather, and they will present their findings to other scientists and the general public.
What are the requirements to become an astronomer?
To become an astronomer is not easy when you need to have extensive education and specific skills.
A PhD in astronomy
Since astronomy is a complex field which combines many science subjects such as Maths, Physics in high-level computation, if you want to become an astronomer, you will have to train a lot to be competitive. Astronomers have to finish bachelor’s and graduate degrees in a scientific field to continue the journey by earning a PhD degree in astronomy
Work and research experience
Astronomy is not for fresh meat while most astronomy labs are highly competitive workplaces, meaning it’s difficult to get a job even with the proper education requirements. Earning relevant professional experience during or between degrees, such as interning at a laboratory or working on research projects with professors, can make yourself a more appealing candidate.
Being able to synthesize data
Astronomers work with enormous amounts of data, evaluating and condensing it into identifiable trends and patterns that either confirm or refute their beliefs. To be a successful astronomer, you’ll need to be comfortable synthesizing meaning from enormous volumes of data, which you’ll often do with the use of computer software and your own problem-solving.
An insatiable curiosity
There is no specific set of instructions for astronomers to learn more about the universe. Astronomers just keep asking questions about the universe and then, using the knowledge to start researching, testing until they find the answer. If you want to be an astronomer, you must be extremely curious about the universe and have the ability and desire to ask questions that no one else has asked.
How to become an astronomer?
Starting your passion even when you are still in highschool: By taking a few classes and seeing if you really like astronomy. Astronomy courses or courses in physics, computer science, or high-level math, any kind of scientific subject you like.
Finishing your bachelor’s degree in the scientific field: Taking different classes will also help you figure out what areas of astronomy you want to pursue (black holes, stars, solar systems, or planets, etc.).
Meet other aspiring astronomers: Joining a local astronomical society or the American Astronomical Society (if you’re in the United States) will also help you network with other aspiring astronomers. Fostering these relationships can lead to future work prospects.
Earning a doctorate in astronomy: You can start applying for astronomer jobs once you’ve graduated from astronomy school, but most laboratories will want to see some relevant work experience on your resume first. Look for postdoctoral research opportunities or fellowships that can demonstrate you have what it takes to work as a professional astronomer if you want to get a leg up on the competition.
Apply for an astronomer position: You can start looking for a job as an astronomer if you have an astronomy degree and related work experience, whether it’s in an office, a laboratory, a space agency, or an observatory.