Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics > Science and Mathematics

Projected Growth: Average

Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.

Common job titles of Astronomers include:

Experience and Education

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 60.61% said they needed a Post-Doctoral Training.

  • 30.3% said they needed a Doctoral Degree.


    Analyze research data to determine its significance, using computers.

    Develop theories based on personal observations or on observations and theories of other astronomers.

    Study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.

    Teach astronomy or astrophysics.

    Collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects.

    Develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.

    Serve on professional panels and committees.

    Review scientific proposals and research papers.

    Calculate orbits and determine sizes, shapes, brightness, and motions of different celestial bodies.

    Develop and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation.

    Raise funds for scientific research.

    Measure radio, infrared, gamma, and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources.

    Present research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals.

    Direct the operations of a planetarium.


X ray diffractometers

Wideband pulsar processors

Wide-field mosaic charge-coupled device CCD cameras

Very long baseline array VLBA telescopes

Very large array VLA telescopes

Tilting filter photometers

Thermal evaporators

All Tools


Solar telescopes

Solar telescope filters

Single-dish radio telescopes

Scientific calculators

Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes

Scanning telescopes

Resonance fluorescence laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems

Refracting telescopes

Reflector telescopes

Radio telescopes

Radio antennas

Pulsar processors

Planetary radar transmitters


Personal computers

Optical telescopes

Optical interferometers

Near-infrared integral field spectrometers

Near-infrared imagers and spectrometers NIRI

Multi-object spectrographs MOS

Low resolution imaging spectrographs

Laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems

Laptop computers


High resolution spectrographs

High powered binoculars

Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers

European VLBI Network EVN telescopes

Electron beam ion traps EBIT

Echelle spectrometers

Ebert-Fastie spectrometers

Doppler Rayleigh laser imaging ranging and detecting LIDAR systems

Dobsonian telescopes

Differential scanning calorimeters

Desktop computers


Charge-coupled device CCD imagers

Baseband recorders

Ball mills

Automated telescopes

Atomic absorption AA spectroscopes


Apache Hadoop

IBM SPSS Statistics

National Instruments LabVIEW

Abstraction plus reference plus synthesis A++

Adaptive optics AO simulation software


Astronomical Image Processing for Windows AIP4WIN

All Technologies

Astronomical Image Processing System AIPS

Astronomical information processing system AIPS++

Avis Fits Viewer

Data reduction software

Diffraction Limited MaxIm DL

European Southern Observatory Munich Image Data Analysis System ESO-MIDAS

Interface definition language IDL


MSB Software Astroart

Multipurpose Interactive Image Processing System MIIPS

Software Bisque CCDSoft

Software development tools

Spectroscopy databases


Visual Numerics PV-WAVE



Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Using mathematics to solve problems.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Teaching others how to do something.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.


Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Quantitative Abilities › Mathematical Reasoning

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

Add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.

Cognitive Abilities › Quantitative Abilities › Number Facility

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.

Cognitive Abilities › Perceptual Abilities › Flexibility of Closure

Come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Originality

Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Information Ordering

See details at a distance.

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Far Vision

Speak clearly so others can understand you.

Auditory and Speech Abilities › Sensory Abilities › Speech Clarity

Come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Fluency of Ideas

Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Category Flexibility

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