Astronomy

As an astronomer, you will study celestial objects and phenomena in the universe by using principles of physics, mathematics and chemistry. You may also work on the exploration of the origin and evolution of celestial bodies.

What do astronomers do?

Astronomers study and collect data on the nature, composition, movements, history and possible future of celestial bodies such as planets, stars, meteors, galaxies etc. They analyse and interpret this data to develop various theories.

What does a typical day at work involve?

  • Checked Studying celestial bodies and other phenomena using telescopes and scientific instruments
  • Checked Developing tools, software and other equipment for astronomical observations
  • Checked Conducting research and testing theories
  • Checked Formulating new theories on the basis of observations
  • Checked Calculating the size, shape and motion of celestial bodies
  • Checked Studying the past history and future development of planets and stars
  • Checked Collaborating with other astronomers in conducting scientific researches
  • Checked Publishing and presenting papers in scientific journals and conferences

What are the different specialisations in astronomy?

It is a branch of astronomy which is concerned with the application of the laws and theories of physics for interpreting various astronomical phenomena.
This discipline applies a combination of the principles of astronomy and chemistry to study the formation, interaction and destruction of chemical elements found in space.
Astrometry is a discipline that deals with the tracking of the position and movement of celestial bodies.

How to become an Astronomer?

Step 1
Take Science Stream at the 10+2 level with Physics and Mathematics

To take up a bachelor course in Physics/ Astronomy/ Astrophysics, you need to have studied Physics and Mathematics at the 10+2 level

Step 2
Take BSc in Physics/Astrophysics/Astronomy

Astronomy/Astrophysics is rarely offered by Indian universities at the bachelor’s level. You can take up a bachelors course in Physics with Mathematics which will equip you for higher studies in the field. It is generally of 3 years duration.

Bachelor’s programs in Astronomy and Astrophysics are offered by universities abroad.

Step 3
Take MSc Physics/Astrophysics/Astronomy

A master’s course in Astrophysics/Astronomy is offered by a few institutions in India (Eg. Dept of Astrophysics- Pondicherry University), although you can find postgraduate programs in Astronomy and Astrophysics in many Universities abroad. A more common path to take up would be to go for an MSc Physics and opt for research in astronomy or astrophysics. Specialisation in astronomy/astrophysics in MSc Physics is offered by some Universities like the Delhi University.


Note :
  • An integrated 5 years BS-MS program in Physics at IISER allows you to take up research in Astronomy in the 5th year.
  • You can also take an MS in Astronomy and Astrophysics from IIST after MSc in Physics/Space Science or after BTech in Engineering Physics or other branches
  • IIST also offers a 5 year dual degree program in Btech (Engineering Physics) and MS (Astronomy and Astrophysics)
Step 4
Take PhD in Astronomy/Astrophysics

Since this is a highly intellectual field, a majority of those working in astronomy around the world have a doctorate. There are various reputed institutes in India that offer a PhD in this field.

Astronomy Colleges

Name State District Type Website Course

Requirements for masters (MSc) in astronomy

Requirements for admission into a PG course in one of the top institutions to help you get an overall picture

Indian Institutes (MSc Astronomy from IIT Indore)

  • Bachelor's degree in Physics/Mathematics/Computer science engineering/Electrical engineering/Mechanical engineering
  • Joint Admission Test for MSc qualification in Physics.
  • In the qualifying degree, the aggregate marks or CGPA/CPI without rounding-off (taking into account all subjects, including languages and subsidiaries, all years combined) should be at least 55% or 5.5 out of 10

Foreign University (MSc Astronomy from Universiteit Leiden)

  • A Bachelor's degree in Physics or an equivalent degree (to be decided by the board) that includes modules in Astronomy.
  • English Language Requirements: IELTS: a minimum overall score of 6.5 or an overall TOEFL score of 90

To see the entrance exams, scholarships and UG admission details, click here

Skills Required

Analytical skills

An astronomer should have good analytical skills as they will have to deeply analyse even the minute aspects and details of stars, planets, and galaxies during their work.

Problem solving skills

Problem solving is an important skill for an astronomer as they will have to anticipate all possible issues that may come up and should be able to quickly solve problems in an effective manner.

Accuracy

Astronomers should be very accurate. They work on minute details and numbers. So they should have attention to detail and not even make a small mistake.

Communication skills

Astronomers should be able to present their research findings in a simple and understandable manner. For this, they should have good written and oral communication skills.

Critical thinking

Astronomers have to conduct research, test theories and even formulate new theories. They should possess good critical thinking for conducting research and analysing facts and observations.

Numerical skills

Astronomers mainly work with numbers and numerical data. They should have a good aptitude and skill for using numbers.

Abstract thinking

An astronomer should have good abstract thinking as they study, analyse and research about things and particles far away. They should be able to imagine and visualize the shape, size and dimensions.

Industries

  • Checked Universities and Research Institutions
  • Checked Government or government supported Space Institutions (like NASA, ISRO)
  • Checked Business and private industry on space-related projects
  • Checked Science centres and Planetariums
  • Checked Astronomy education & public outreach initiatives (Like SPACE).

Top Companies

  • Checked NASA
  • Checked ISRO
  • Checked SPACEX