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Astronomer

Astronomers study the origin and make-up of the universe, including its planets, stars, galaxies and black holes.

Potential salary

£15,000 to £60,000

Employment by 2024

+2.64%

Working hours

39 to 41 irregular

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • analytical thinking skills
  • science skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • concentration skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

In observational astronomy, your duties might include:

  • collecting and analysing data from satellites and spacecraft
  • exploring space using radio and optical telescopes
  • designing new instruments and maintaining existing equipment
  • developing software to interpret images and data captured by satellites

In theoretical astronomy, your duties may include:

  • creating computer models to test theories about processes happening in space
  • analysing the results of past observations to make new predictions
  • making observations and developing theories
  • analysing data to help build our understanding of events in the universe

You could work in an observatory, in a laboratory or at a university.

With experience, you could move into related careers like aerospace or satellite research and development.

You could also use your skills in systems analysis, software engineering, teaching, scientific journalism or accountancy.

You'll find more advice on careers in astronomy from the Royal Astronomical Society and SpaceCareers.uk.

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