Astrophysicist - Profiles

Careers for astrophysicists

Astrophysics / June 29, 2018

The two terms are generally linked when naming scientific journals covering the subject and graduate science departments because most professional astronomers have graduate degrees in physics. As a result we include astronomy jobs and astrophysics jobs in one category and have a separate category for space physics jobs. The discovery that the universe is expanding was an astronomical advance, that piqued interest in astronomy and astrophysics careers worldwide. The theoretical equation relating the speed of a star with its redshift is an achievement atributed to career astrophysicists. Likewise, radio astronomy was responsible for the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR), but astrophysics showed the connection between CMBR and the Big Bang. In 1000 BC, using visible light, Chinese astronomers measured the difference between the location of the sun on the shortest day and the longest day to measure the tilt of Earth's rotational axis. So the overlap of careers in astronomy and astrophysics is quite prevalent. In addition to all of the electromagnetic spectrum, career astronomers now use neutrinos from the Sun and supernovae with detectors placed underground. There are also interferometers that respond to gravitational radiation instead of light, with arms that are 4 km long, to detect the gravity waves of general relativity.

There are a great many amateur astronomers and societies. A common activity is called star hopping, which involves locating faint stars, galaxies, and other celestial objects with the help of star charts and bright stars. Amateur astronomers often contribute to the lifework of career astronomers by monitoring the changes in brightness of variable stars, tracking asteroids, discovering comets, and observing occultations.

Dark matter and dark energy are hypothetical concepts whose existence is indicated by recent discoveries. Matters of current interest to career astrophysicists are the dynamics of stellar evolution, galaxy formation, black holes, and the origin of cosmic rays. Until very recently, the largest structures were thought to be superclusters of galaxies, which are bigger than clusters of galaxies. Now, there are voids, filaments and walls of galaxies, and gaseous structures 400, 000 light years across. With all these new and exciting discoveries, its no wonder we have an abundance of astronomy jobs and astrophysics jobs listed on our boards.