Astronomers

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Also known as:  Astronomer, Astrophysicist

ABOUT ASTRONOMER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Space may be the final frontier, but it's been studied since the dawn of civilization. And while early man could only stargaze with unaided eyes, astronomers today use extremely sophisticated equipment to examine the universe. From giant telescopes here on the earth to unmanned probes travelling mil ...
lions of miles into deep space, information is collected and interpreted, often with the use of computers.

Astronomers may study electrical storms on the sun, track the thousand-year orbit of a meteor, or search for signs of life in a faraway galaxy. They spend years in college and graduate school, developing a foundation of knowledge in physics and math. A doctoral degree is usually required for jobs in this occupation. While some of these scientists develop theories about the very nature of the universe, others work at practical matters such as satellite communications and telescope systems.

Astronomers are most likely to be employed by research facilities, universities, or museums that house planetariums. Often their work includes the need to write grant proposals for funding. It is a complex science, rooted in something simple - looking up, wondering, and wanting to know "what's out there?"
SNAPSHOT Expand
Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Calculate orbits and determine sizes, shapes, brightness, and motions of different celestial bodies.
Review scientific proposals and research papers.
Study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.
Present research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals.
Raise funds for scientific research.
Teach astronomy or astrophysics.
Develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.
Measure radio, infrared, gamma, and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources.
Collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects.
Direct the operations of a planetarium.
Develop and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Mathematical Reasoning The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
TOP SKILLS Expand
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
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.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
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