Astronomer – How to become an Astronomer
An astronomer is a professional who studies the universe and aims to uncover its mysteries. They investigate the motion, nature, laws, constitution, and potential future developments of heavenly bodies such as the Sun, Planets, Stars, Comets, Meteors, Galaxies, Satellites, and more.
If you are intrigued by the stars, constellations, moons, and other celestial objects in the sky and have the desire to explore and learn more about them, then a career in astronomy may be ideal for you.
This field is divided into two main areas of study: observational astronomy, which focuses on the theoretical aspects, and theoretical astrophysics, which deals with the practical aspects. As a result, a solid grounding in general physics is essential for those interested in pursuing a career in astronomy.
In addition to a strong foundation in physics, a career in astronomy requires excellent programming skills, a curious mind, and the ability to search for answers. Students who are interested in instrumentation or experimental astronomy can pursue an engineering degree. These professionals are responsible for designing and constructing astronomical instrumentation for ground- and space-based observatories. Experimental astronomers also publish papers on the instrumentation and data handling required for conducting astronomy across various wavelength fields. Those who have chosen the science stream can pursue theoretical astronomy or observation.
How to become an Astronomer after 12th?
To become an astronomer after the 12th, you will need to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Astronomy or a related field, followed by a Master’s degree and possibly a Ph.D. Here are the general steps you can take:
- Complete your 12th-grade education in the Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as your main subjects.
- Pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Astronomy, Astrophysics, or Physics with Astronomy as a specialization. There are several universities in India and abroad that offer undergraduate degree programmes in Astronomy. You can check their eligibility criteria and admission process.
- After completing your Bachelor’s degree, you can opt for a Master’s degree programme in Astronomy, Astrophysics, or Physics with Astronomy as a specialization.
- After completing your Master’s degree, you can also choose to pursue a Ph.D. in Astronomy, Astrophysics, or a related field if you want to pursue a career in research or academia.
- It is also important to gain practical experience through internships, research projects, or collaborations with other astronomers.
- Keep yourself updated with the latest developments in the field by attending conferences, workshops, and seminars.
Remember, the path to becoming an astronomer can be challenging and competitive, so it’s important to have a strong passion for the field and dedication to succeed.
Astronomer Career Prospects
As an astronomer, you will work for long hours without breaks, as you will be studying phenomena that are beyond the reach of mankind. To succeed in this career, you need to be hardworking and dedicated.
There is a great demand for astronomers in various public and private organizations, including the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Space Physics Laboratories, Space Applications Centres, and non-profit organizations like the Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA). As a beginner in the field, you may start as a researcher in an existing team, and work under the supervision of senior scientists to sharpen your skills.
Astronomers with Ph.D. degrees may teach at universities, while those with Master’s degrees are qualified for many jobs in manufacturing, applied research, and development. Bachelor’s degree holders can work as technicians, research assistants, or in other types of jobs. Salaries for astronomers can range from Rs.50,000 per month for beginners to Rs.8-10 lacs per annum for experienced professionals in senior positions.
In summary, pursuing a career in astronomy is an exciting and challenging journey that requires passion, dedication, and specialized knowledge and training. With the right education, skills, and experience, you can explore the mysteries of the universe and contribute to the scientific community.