Astronomy Jobs?

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by SotalyTober, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Hey guys i'm looking into idea's for a good job that has to do with somthing i'm passionate about, and i'm really into Astronomy and everything that has to do with it, it's some mind blowing stuff and I loved my astro classes in highschool.

    Now what I was wondering was is there any jobs besides being an astro teacher? I know you can watch asteroids for nasa but does that pay well?
    And what are some other things I could look into?

    Thanks guys ! :smoke:

    Oh and if you haven't ever gotten high and looked through a telescope and just searched for a little while looking at random stars, you haven't lived. that is all. :wave:

  2. :( :( :( :( :(
  3. Just hope you don't get stuck with the day shift.
  4. How much education do you have in astronomy? You mentioned some high school classes, but do you have much more than that?

    The reason I ask is because it sounds to me like you are really interested in doing astronomy research. If that is true, I'd highly recommend trying to get your foot in the door to an astronomy lab for a summer internship or technician-type job. Such jobs, along with taking more astronomy courses at the college level will give you better insight into whether or not astronomy is for you. I say this because, although it sounds like you love the idea, actually working professionally in that field or doing research in that field (or any field for that matter) is much different than being an average astronomy enthusiast with a telescope on their back porch.

    Regardless, I'd first suggest making some connections with the folks in the astronomy/physics department at your college first and seeing where they can help you out. Good luck though.
  5. ^^^ agreed. i thought once upon a time that i'd love to work in the field. but take a realistic look at it, its not looking thru a telescope in a room. there is so much mathematics, technical skills, and so much categorizing its
  6. #7 Sam_Spade, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2012
    Like any academic profession, you will be fighting a career-long battle for funding -- only to eventually realize that virtually nobody will ever read the vast majority of your work. If you have your heart set on working on a telescope -- then you should look into the associated trade professions that go into maintaining them. Your odds will be much better.

    Become an engineer, plan to be grossly under-payed for your specialties, and to be incredibly isolated at your job site.

    I get the impression a lot of career academics want to be astronomers... or astronauts... or the next einstein. Sometimes it's much better to draw a distinction between your passion and your pragmatic options -- to this very day, i attend stargazing nights with a group of geology and philosophy PhDs. Best of both worlds... literally.
  7. rarely do i lol....but i just did....:smoke:
  8. I feel you man, I've been taking a few Astronomy classes in my community college as well. Ever since I was a kid I've been interested in science, the stars amazed me. I used to watch science network documentaries on the universe and all that good shit. Im planning on majoring in Astronomy and when I tell people that everyone asks me what I'm planning on doing with my life job wise. But really, Im so down to be doing the research, its what Im passionate about. Im especially interested in astrobiology;
    My advice, go for what you're really into, anything else wouldnt be the same
  9. #10 Ehmaybelater, Mar 31, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2012

    This is good advice.

    To be quite honest, you won't go anywhere unless you have a PhD in Astrophysics. There's a chance you could, but in all reality the chances are so slim it's not even really worth it. In that area the fight for funding is very fierce, and the vast majority of the students and people involved are just so "into" it you don't even have a chance. You will also need a very, very strong background in high level Calculus for it. I'm sure you could find an "Astronomy" major, but Astrophysics is the way to go. An Astronomy major (where they actually have one, the vast majority of the time they are Astrophysics majors even though at a glance it may say Astronomy) is essentially worthless.

    Keep in mind if you're going into a science related field it is a good idea to at least get your Master's. I am NOT saying this is required in the least bit. You can definitely get jobs with an undergrad, the opportunities just grow exponentially the more education that you have.

    I personally love Astronomy and originally wanted to major in it. Long story short, I'm a Geology major with a double minor in Astrophysics and Chemistry. I have a very deep interested in groundwater geochemistry and space-related geology in general. I will be starting my Master's next semester. Geology requires a year and a half of Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics and covers pretty much every science. That's basically how I ended up here, and I'm not regretting it. It's extremely hands on in real life in the field and in the lab, which is absolutely outstanding.

    One last thing to always remember, is that the hard work is worth it in whatever you do.
  10. I have experience in both Astronomy and the work sector. Master's degrees in Astronomy can land you jobs in Gov't positions (mainly at government run or college/university or museum run observatories), or a teaching career in high school or at a community college. A PhD will allow you to conduct your own research, and or become a senior scientist at a large facility, such as SETI. Astronomy is nothing but MATH, PHYSICS, and COMPUTER PROGRAMMING. It is a very tough field and the best University to go to is UA, Arizona. Good luck.
  11. I felt like I should better explain my earlier post. Success in academics is tough but very much achievable. I would not dream of discouraging a passionate academic - but I feel it important to point out that academia is not a cushy job. Individauls at the top of their field have sacrificed a great deal to be there, they have worked 85 hour weeks with only their own discipline driving them. They will work months on dissertations and publications only to have their peers shatter their closest and most intimate ideas.

    If you want to be the next Sagan, Hubble, Einstein or Feynman -- then you need to seriously re-evaluate your expectations. But if you fought frostnip to see a meteor shower - or if you compulsively doodle Gaussian curves in the margins of your notes... then you might have what it takes.

    Or maybe you're like me; somewhere in the middle. I was the classic kid of my generation; I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to set foot on Mars... or Phobos at very least. At I moved through my University career, i realized that i wouldn't happen for a number of reasons.

    I still get to explore. I get to see things that few people ever do. I travel to some very alien places. I also get to help people and make a meaningful difference in their lives. My life took a different path.... but I don't forget my passions. I still have near-religious experiences looking into the depth of the sky. I still find it difficult to breath when my eyes adjust to the light of the milky way. I get to work with peers and friends who DO study the stars and the planets, who study places I can barley imagine.

    All things being what they are... I'm not sure I would have chosen to do it any differently. :)

    Very debatable! There are lots of institutions around the world which will offer you an opportunity to be at the top of your field. Don't feel like you're fundamentally impeded by the institution you attend. Too much to worry about in your undergrad - just focus on getting into a decent program and getting good grades. You can worry about the post-grad when you have the grades to warrant it.
  12. I currently work for NASA, my top adviser is from UA. All the top students out of the top ranking high schools end up at UA to do Astrophysics/Astronomy. There is no debate. The course work and heavy research area behind the UA college is intense. The competition to get into graduate school at this school is very intense, the best of the best. There are other institutions you can go to, not many that specialize in Astronomy/Astrophysics though.
  13. Hahaha awww really -- you want to do this?

    First off; NASA is not (by any means) the only game in town. Secondly; I'm sure there is a little bit more that 'no' ambiguity on those high school statistics... to put it mildly... and to use 'mildly' in a very facetious tone. Thirdly, there are a lot of top professionals in the field that have had virtually nothing to do with UA. Most career academics do not remain at any one single institution their entire careers.

    Don't me wrong, I'm not bashing on UA. UA is an amazing institution and does top-notch work. World class stuff.

    My argument is; if you're an undergrad who is not currently attending UA, you will not be forever condemned to never work in the field.

    You need not attend a "specialized" school to be a top-notch contributor in an academic field.... that even applies to biomed.
  14. #15 silentbob71, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2012
    Your argument (as you call it, sad really that you even have one) has nothing to do with what I have said. No you do not have to attend a specialized school to do so, but this isn't business pal. When deciding on a school the best thing to do is A) look at the professor you want to work with (his research background), and 2) what resources and instrumentation do they have. The second one being the most important. I have met plenty of smart well rounded undergraduates from other schools that would have loved to have an opportunity to do high level research utilizing high level equipment, but were unable to do so given their school had no equipment or resources.

    I have learned how to spin my own mirrors over the years, for Dobs, and UA's mirror production is out of this world. They spin their mirrors right under the football field.
  15. I'm a little confused.

    What's with the hostility? We're having a discussion here and you're aggressively demeaning me?

    Cool your jets. :cool:

    It kind of does. This is my interpretation, please feel free to correct it.

    You started by saying "Astronomy is nothing but MATH, PHYSICS, and COMPUTER PROGRAMMING. It is a very tough field and the best University to go to is UA, Arizona. Good luck." and "There is no debate."

    Already, you are talking about three very broad disciplines which cover numerous professions and areas of study.

    I simply disagreed. I then gave my reasons which you've already gone over.

    Is there a lack of communication here?

    Not sure what your point is. This remains especially true if we're talking undergrad programs.

    Okay - assuming all of this to be true.... my argument can also be true.

  16. What are you going to do with a BS in Astronomy? Of course I am referring to Master's/PhD levels, and in this field you ultimately want a PhD, but can get by with a Master's.
  17. A number of different reasons why I'm talking about undergrad, but the biggest reason...

    OP is stoked from highschool classes. Planning for a doctorate may be a little lofty at this point.

    Also, in my experience, people don't plan to ever achieve a doctorate -- they're more or less born to do it.

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