How to become an astronomer

Observe the universe—including planets, stars, and moons—and how it works.

Pathways to this career

  1. Complete an undergraduate science degree, with a major in astronomy, physics or astrophysics.
  2. Astronomy can be competitive. A masters or PhD in astronomy or astrophysics will help set you apart.
  3. Stay up-to-date with industry changes and network with likeminded professionals through institutions like the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA).

What does an astronomer do?

Astronomers are scientists that specialise in the study of astronomy. Their work includes teaching and research at universities and research institutions. Astronomers spend their days (and nights) observing and modelling the objects of the universe from their labs and observatories.

Duties and tasks

  • Make astronomical observations using telescopes and other instruments.
  • Supervise and co-ordinate the work of technicians and technologists.
  • Apply and expand knowledge of scientific topics including physics and mathematics.
  • Study the formation and evolution of the universe, planets, stars etc.
  • Teach astronomy, physics, or astrophysics classes.
  • Work on independent or team research projects and write reports on your findings.
  • Write papers for scientific journals and present these at conferences and seminars.

Industry bodies

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