Career In Astronomy
Are you interested in study of stars, moons, planets and comets?
If yes, then career in astronomy is the right choice for you.
Astronomy comprises the study of sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, space and other non-Earthly bodies.
“Astronomy is the branch of physics that deals with the study of celestial bodies like planets, stars, and galaxies. It refers to the study of objects outside the earth’s atmosphere and their physical and chemical properties”.
What does Astronomers do
Astronomers are the observers who discovers information about “how the universe works” from the planets in our solar system. It includes study about the evolution of stars.
Astronomer implements the principles of Mathematics and Physics to carried out research about the Universe. They makes the use of telescopes and computer programs for gathering data on the characteristics of planets, moons, stars and other objects.
Astronomers also work with scientists for conducting research.
There are several branches of astronomy such as Astrophysics, Astrometeorology, Astrobiology, Astrogeology and Astrometry.
What is the best thing about astronomer
They discover things that nobody have seen ever. They utilize their most of time in researching activities. The work of astronomer includes traveling, observing, writing reports, reading, teaching and working in offices.
How to become an Astronomer
- To become an Astronomer, a Ph.D degree is compulsory.
- First, you have to complete your 10+2 examination under the science stream, especially in Mathematics & Physics.
- After that, you can join an undergraduate course in Astronomy. You can join for an honors/major in Physics with Mathematics as a secondary subject.
- Thereafter, you can join postgraduate degree in Physics or Astronomy.
- After competing master degree, you can do specialization in astronomy leading to Ph. D
Courses & Duration
Students having interest in Physics and Mathematics can opt their career in the field of astronomy.
Have you completed your 12th?
If yes, then you can obtain bachelor’s degree in science subjects to continue your career in astronomy.
Astronomy courses are available at various levels and are listed below:
- B.Sc in Astrophysics – 3 year full-time course
- B.Sc in Astronomy – 3 year full-time course
- B.Tech in relevant Engineering
- PhD. in Astronomy
- PhD. in Astronomy and Astrophysics
- PhD. in Astrophysics
- PhD. in Atmospheric Science and Astrophysics
- Integrated M.Sc – Ph.D Programme in Physics and Astrophysics
- Integrated M.Tech – Ph.D (Tech.) programme in Astronomical Instrumentation
To become an astronomer, you are required to earn Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in astronomy, physics or a similar field that is necessary for faculty and researcher positions.
Skills Required in an Astronomer
- Solid knowledge in Physics and Mathematics.
- Must have the knowledge of computer programmes and software.
- Good observation skills are required.
- Should have the capacity of solving complex problems and conducting research work.
- Ability to work with a team is required.
To get admission in the undergraduate astronomy courses, various Universities/colleges conduct their own entrance test. one of the such entrance test is called IISC 2019 (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore) that provides admission to undergraduate courses offered by IISc.
In order to take admission to PhD courses, you have to clear the GATE 2019/ UGC NET 2019 examination. You can also appear the JEST 2019 (Joint Entrance Screening Test) for admission into Ph.D course. After the completion of master’s degree, you can apply for this test.
Top colleges offering courses in the field of Astronomy/Astrophysics are listed below:
- Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram
- The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP), Bangalore
- Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
- Osmania University, Hyderabad
- Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Jobs & Career
Astronomy is an amazing & a promising career for the students, those are interested in the mysteries of the universe.
A career in Astronomy is broadly divided as Theoretical or Observational though.
Theoretical Research career is typically involves doing Bachelors in Engineering or Technology or Masters in Physics with the basic knowledge in Mathematics & Physics. You can join Universities or Institutions for a Ph.D programme & obtain a permanent job.
Observation Research Career is wider because students have an engineering degree or have knowledge of computer systems & electronics are encouraged to apply for the graduation programme & allows doing an M.Sc by research prior to doing a Ph.D.
There are various job opportunities exists in public and private organizations like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), NASA, Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) etc.
As a brilliant astronomer, you may be offered by space research centres like ISRO, NASA etc.
Interested people can also join teaching profession after the accomplishment of pre-requisite qualification.
As a beginner, you can work as a fellow researcher with the existing team who already working on an Astronomy project.
You can also get internships at the different centers in India that do astronomy such as IUCAA, ARIES, NCRA, etc.
An engineer with a BE or B.Tech degree can also enter in this field as a research scholar.
After completion of your degree in Astronomy, you can work as a research scientist with various research Institutions & big government organizations such as the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
You can also work as a researcher in the leading observatories and Institutions in the USA.
- Research Scientist
What will my Salary be?
Salary in the field of astronomy depends upon the profession you have chosen. If you choose your career in teaching the salary may be different from the one who are working as a researcher.
The starting salary of an astronomer starts from Rs 50,000/- per month. Those who have earned experience and are highly qualified will earn an annual salary of Rs. 8 lacs to Rs 10 lacs.
Books & Study Materials
You can refer these books for the preparation of astronomy:
Astronomy – A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe – Chaisson, McMillan
A Companion to Astronomy and Astrophysics – Kenneth R.Lang
Celestial Mechanics: The Waltz of the Planets – Alessandra Celletti, Ettore Perozzi
Fundamental Astronomy – H.Karttunen P.Kroger, H.Oja M.Poutanen, K.J. Donne
Astronomy Today – Chaisson, McMillan
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