Astronomers study planets, stars, galaxies and other objects in the observable universe and use this information for theoretical and practical purposes.
Duties & Tasks
Astronomers may perform the following tasks:observe objects in space, from the Earth's surface and via orbiting satellites, using a wide range of specialised telescopes or detectors
design and attach special equipment to telescopes or spacecraft when necessary
make calculations using mathematical and physical principles to study the behaviour of matter and energy in the visible universe
record, analyse and compare results of observations using complex electronic and computer equipment
develop theories to explain recorded observations and make predictions, and express these as mathematical equations
attempt to understand the fundamental nature, origin and evolution of the universe
investigate the formation and evolution of the solar system
use computers to produce star catalogues and tables of measurements for use in navigation, surveying, time determination and other disciplines
develop instruments and detectors for all radiation (radio, infra-red, optical, X-ray, gamma ray and cosmic ray, for example) observed from the Earth's surface or via spacecraft
present the results of their work at scientific meetings and publish them in relevant scientific journals.
Astronomers usually perform either observational or theoretical tasks. They have three main areas of study: the movement and position of stars, planets, galaxies and other objects; their physical and chemical properties; and their origins and evolution.par Astronomers who need to make observations may need to travel long distances to observatories and may work long hours, often at night. However, more time is spent using computers than personally observing with telescopes.
an inquisitive mind
interested in mathematics, computing and physics
good oral and written communication skills.