Find Schools

Study Area & Zipcode


Find Schools Near

What is an Astronomer?

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

Life As an Astronomer: What Do They Do?

  • Review scientific proposals and research papers.
  • Develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.
  • Study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.
  • Analyze research data to determine its significance, using computers.
  • Develop and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation.
  • Collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects.

What Every Astronomer Should Know

Astronomers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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

  • Scientist
  • Data Sciences Director
  • Astrophysicist
  • Analytical Sciences Director
  • Observatory Director

What Kind of Astronomer Job Opportunities Are There?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 2,000 jobs in the United States for Astronomer. 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.


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.

What is the Average Salary of an Astronomer

Astronomers make between $57,490 and $165,770 a year.


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

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Astronomers in different U.S. states.

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

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Astronomers:

  • 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

Becoming an Astronomer

Learn what Astronomer education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become an Astronomer?


Who Employs Astronomers?


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



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.