Find Schools

Study Area & Zipcode


Find Schools Near

What You Need to Know About Astronomer

Job Description & Duties Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.

A Day in the Life of an Astronomer

  • Calculate orbits and determine sizes, shapes, brightness, and motions of different celestial bodies.
  • Raise funds for scientific research.
  • Direct the operations of a planetarium.
  • Develop theories based on personal observations or on observations and theories of other astronomers.
  • Review scientific proposals and research papers.
  • Analyze research data to determine its significance, using computers.

What an Astronomer Should Know

These are the skills Astronomers say are the most useful in their careers:

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Types of Astronomer

  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Analytical Sciences Director
  • Space Sciences Director
  • Data Sciences Director

Job Demand for Astronomers

There were about 2,000 jobs for Astronomer in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 200 new jobs for Astronomer by 2026. There will be an estimated 200 positions for Astronomer per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Astronomers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Astronomer are Arizona, Washington, and Texas. Watch out if you plan on working in Hawaii, Maryland, or Texas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Astronomers Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of an Astronomer ranges between $57,490 and $165,770.

Salary Ranges for Astronomers

Astronomers who work in District of Columbia, California, or Hawaii, make the highest salaries.

How much do Astronomers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Arizona $104,100
California $113,130
District of Columbia $123,640
Hawaii $126,170
New Mexico $78,910
Texas $107,350

Tools & Technologies Used by Astronomers

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Astronomers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Python
  • Structured query language SQL
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • Linux
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • R
  • National Instruments LabVIEW
  • Apache Hadoop
  • Formula translation/translator FORTRAN
  • Software development tools
  • Interface definition language IDL
  • C++
  • Visual Numerics PV-WAVE

How do I Become an Astronomer?

What education or degrees do I need to become an Astronomer?

Astronomer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Astronomer Work Experience

Astronomers Sector

Astronomer Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Astronomer Industries


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz. via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Featured Schools

Find Schools Near You

Our free school finder matches students with accredited colleges across the U.S.