Astronomy careers list
Short of being a stunt car driver, the most exciting real-life careers may just lie in the sciences. From studying the earth we live in to the skies above us, science majors and careers are all about exploration and delving into the unknown. Not to mention, many of these fields are among the most stable and lucrative available. So take a look and see what kinds of careers these common science majors lead to.
The major in astronomy examines the motion and nature of the sun, moon, starts, planets, and other celestial bodies. Astronomy brings to bear the knowledge of the mathematician, the chemist, and the physicist. Astronomy has evolved through recent centuries from an observational science, relying on data gathered from peering through a telescope, to an experimental science, including space exploration.
Some colleges offer astronomy as an individual major. More frequently, program offerings are titled “Physics and Astronomy, ” “Astronomy/Planetary Sciences, ” or “Astrophysics.” This underscores the close alliance of astronomy with physics in today’s colleges and emphasizes the extensive grounding in physics required of astronomers. The plan of study consists of courses in general physics with lab, chemistry, electromagnetics, and core courses in astronomy. A close working relationship with a faculty advisor is important when pursuing a major in astronomy. Classes include physics, basic mechanics, electricity and magnetism, relativity seminar, astronomy, astrophysics, chemistry, advanced mathematics.
- college professor
- computer science
- freelance writer
- government researcher
- research scientist
- secondary school teacher
- museum planetarium director
- technical writer
Astrophysics focuses on the more theoretical aspects of astronomy and is devoted to the exploration of laws of physics that affect astronomical bodies, their relationships with one another, and the discovery of clues to the origin and development of the universe. Students will receive scientific and technological training in the space sciences, including advanced work in mathematics and physical sciences. (Not every college distinguishes between the astronomy and astrophysics majors.)
The plan of study is a challenging one and suitable only for students strong in math and physics. At the undergraduate level, the focus is on the in-depth study of topics in physics, with particular emphasis on such areas as mechanics, quantum theory, electromagnetism, and electricity. This is supplemented with a heavy concentration in advanced mathematics and electives in astronomy. A B.A. degree can be offered, but B.S. is preferred, especially for students intending to pursue a Ph.D. in astrophysics.
- computer specialist