Astronomy Professor salary
Astronomy is the formal study of the sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, galaxies, gas, dust and other non-Earthly phenomena. In other words, astronomy is a field that concentrates on studying the universe. In ancient times, astronomy overlapped with astrology and included formal investigations of celestial occurrences of all kinds. In modern times, astronomy is now more closely aligned with other scientific fields, such as physics.
In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were only 1, 750 astronomers currently working across the U.S. While NASA may be the most obvious destination for an astronomer, far more space scientists are affiliated with college or university astronomy or physics departments. Teaching is a common and even inevitable destination for the small number of people who enter the astronomy field.
Overall, astronomy is one of the world’s oldest physical sciences, and because of the uniqueness of the field, educators trained to teach the subject may find themselves using advanced technology, physical and hands-on activities, as well as creative approaches to introduce subject material, depending on the age and grade level of the students being taught.
While postsecondary astronomy classes are often lecture-based, teaching students in elementary, middle and high school often involves a blend of using astronomy-related software applications, planetarium field trips, and serving as an advisor for a local astronomy club. Astronomy teachers may also find themselves being employed outside of the classroom, such as at a science museum or planetarium.
Although teachers explore topics pertaining to astronomy, the subject is rarely, if ever, offered as a stand-alone course at the elementary, middle or high school levels.
Astronomy centers on the study of the sun, moon and planets, and is often one of the first lessons in science that a student encounters. Students at the middle and high school levels learn about gases and matter in relation to the atmosphere – all concepts that tie into astronomy. However, the subject is generally introduced as part of another discipline’s curriculum, such as physics, rather than taught as a distinct class.