What does an astronomer do?
Astronomers contribute to our understanding of the universe, our galaxy, our solar system and the origin of all life. Using telescopes, astronomers make observations and collect data with the aim of widening our knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics. Their day-to-day working life can entail using telescopes and similar detectors, designing equipment for spacecraft, making observations and comparing with previous reports, hypothesising the behaviour of stellar phenomena, compiling reports and publishing scientific findings.
- Operate telescopes and related equipment
- Analyse observational data
- Formulate theories for observations
- Design observational equipment
- Submit research papers for publication
What skills do I need to be an astronomer?
An astronomer must be highly capable of abstract thought and complicated mathematical work in order to succeed in this profession. A passion for science, stars, space exploration and the universe are often what draw people into this demanding field of research. Astronomy involves a large amount of data analysis to support hypotheses, meaning you’ll need to be rigorous and thorough in your work to ensure results are correct.
- Advanced mathematic abilities
- Able to work with abstract concepts
- Naturally curious
- Meticulous in research and analysis
- Good written and oral communication skills
If you are considering a career as an astronomer, there are a number of related roles and lateral career choices you might consider.
Atmospheric and environmental physicist
Study pathways for astronomers
There are a number of educational institutions that will provide you with courses that are relevant to your career outcomes.
Get a head start on your career with your chosen study options
With targeted study options you can get closer to reaching your career goals
Learn research and methodological skills crucial for a career in science
Astronomy is a relatively small field of employment. In order to work in this field you’ll need to complete extensive tertiary training and work at an observatory as a student to gain experience in the field.
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your astronomy career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
Job Prospects and Salaries
There is expected to be strong growth in employment opportunities for physicists over the next five years.