What Types of Jobs are Available as an Astronomer?

If you love astronomy, you might be wondering what types of jobs you can get as an astronomer. It can be an incredibly rewarding field that will allow you to study the space beyond Earth including the evaluation of the planets and celestial bodies beyond our planets. Astronomers often focus on one area of study while they’re obtaining their degree. Once they graduate, they’re able to enter a variety of fields in the government, private sector or museums and planetariums.

Galactic Astronomers

This type of astronomy position involves evaluating objects in our galaxy, which is the Milky Way, according to CNN. With improved instruments, very distant objects are being identified and examined in minute detail compared to just a few years ago. This means that our galaxy is still being explored, and galactic astronomers spend their time trying to understand and calculate how stars, dark matter and gas evolves in the galaxy over time.

Cosmologists

A cosmologist evaluates the beginning of the universe, which began with the Big Bang to today, and they use that knowledge to help predict the future of the universe. They investigate dark matter, dark energy and string theory as well as the concept that there is more than one universe. They try to uncover mysteries like why the universe is expanding more slowly years ago versus how it’s expanding today.

Radio Astronomers

In 1932, a physicist and radio engineer from Bell Telephone Laboratories noticed that radiation was coming from the Milky Way. It was the first time radio waves were detected coming from a celestial body. Radio astronomers use radio telescopes that use a process called radio interferometry to read the waves coming from the universe. This is the same process that helped discover evidence of the Big Bang theory.

Planetary Astronomers

This field covers all the planets we can see in our solar system as well as the asteroids, moons and other celestial bodies nearby. The planetary astronomer will study the planets’ surface and atmospheres as well as how moons revolve around them. This means they’ll touch on gravity too. This field of study can lead to a position as a college professor or high school teacher as well as an astronomer working for a planetarium or museum.

Solar Astronomers

Instead of focusing on all the planets and how they relate to each other as well as their composition, solar astronomers are focused entirely on one body in the sky, which is the sun. They’ll study the day-to-day changes that are seen on the surface of the sun. Solar astronomers study sunspots, flares and eclipses. If it has anything to do with the sun, solar astronomers will study it. The sun is vital to our life on Earth, so it needs to be researched and watched closely.

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While these are just a few types of jobs available as an astronomer, they are all vital for understanding the universe as a whole. A person who obtains a degree as an astronomer can enter a variety of industries including government laboratories, observatories, planetariums and museums educating the public and in school educating children.