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Astronomy Career

The right sky dotted with millions of shining and twinkling stars is really a majestic spectacle to the eyes. It leaves one wondering as to where these stars come from, enchant the would with their brilliant sparkle and then vanish away, only to come back again the next night. Similar queries and hundreds of other mysteries like the movement of planets, the showering of meteors and quest for life on other planets have left man dumbfounded. Astronomy, as a career option, enables one to unravel these mysteries. If one is amazed at the mysteries of the universe and nurtures a desire to unravel them, one should choose the career of Astronomy. It will test one’s scientific temperament and also satisfy one’s curiosity. One will get the opportunity to work with the best brains in the country and will become a part of the intellectual treasure of the would.

Astronomy is the science that deals with the material universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere. It is the study of the motion, nature and constitution of heavenly bodies. It is also the study of the laws, which govern them, as also the effects, which they produce upon one another. It seeks to unravel the probable past history of heavenly bodies and their possible future development. Though the use of modern technology and new gadgets have made Astronomy a specialized branch of study, it is, in fact, a very old science. Man used to study the motions of planets and heavenly bodies since ancient times. With the development of science and technology, man began to use sophisticated technological gadgets for the purpose. Aryabhatta, Bhaskara, Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton have been some of the best brains in Astronomy since the ages.

As astronomy, one has to observe the night sky and gather various data about heavenly bodies. One has to gather various data about heavenly bodies. One has to gather astronomical data, analyze them and then discern and compare them with other available data. Thereby, one will arrive at conclusions, refute old theories and build new theories. It is generally believed that an Astronomer has to stay up the whole night to observe the night sky but with the availability of modern technology, it is possible to convert this job into a flexible one by the use of pre-programmed telescopes. Astronomy is divided into several branches such as Astrophysics, Astrometeorology, Astrophysics, Astrobiology, Astrogeology and Astrometry. These branches together. Help in the holistic study of the discipline and unravel the mysteries of the universe

Eligibility For Astronomy Career

A doctoral degree is the usual educational requirement to become an astronomer, since most of the work tends to be related to research and development. Those who opt for this field, should pass their plus two examination under the science stream, specially in physics and math's. For pursuing a career in theoretical or observational astronomy one may go through the science stream after plus two. Since universities offering undergraduate programme in Astronomy are rarely found, one can join for a major/ honours in Physics with Mathematics as a subsidiary subject. Thereafter, take a master's degree in Physics or Astronomy. After the successful completion of MSc, one can do specialization in astronomy leading to Ph. D. which enables one to become an astronomer/ astronaut/ astrophysicist or a scientist/ research officer etc. in the field of space research. For doing Ph.D, which is mandatory to do research, one should appear for the Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) examination. For pursuing a career in Instrumentation/ Experimental Astronomy, after plus two one can go for Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Electrical / Electronics/ Electrical Communications. An engineer with a B. Tech or BE degree could also enter the field as a research scholar.

Job Prospects & Career Options For Astronomy Career

Working on research is the main profession of an astronomer and this may usually involve travelling; working long hours including day and night. The work of an astronomer involves analysis and interpretation of enormous data gathered by observatories and satellites and making scientific papers or report their findings. They make observations with ground-based telescopes or any other sources and apply their knowledge to solve problems in navigation, space flight, and satellite communications.

A beginner in the field of astronomy may be inducted as a researcher into an existing team which would be already working on a project. Ph.D. holders begin their careers in a postdoctoral research position, in which they may work with experienced physicists as they continue to learn about their specialty and develop ideas and results to be used in later work. Initial work may be under the close supervision of senior scientists. Depending on their areas of specialization, astronomers are classified into various groups like observational astronomers, stellar astronomers, solar astronomers etc. Most jobs in the basic research and development usually require a doctoral degree. The Ph.D. holders ultimately teach at the college or university level. Master’s degree holders are qualified for many jobs in manufacturing and applied research and development. Some master’s degree programs prepare students for specific research skills that does not require a Ph.D. Bachelor degree holder in this field are often qualified as technicians, research assistants or other types of jobs.

An astronomer usually work for the government, defence and space research organisations, electrical and electronic equipment manufacturers etc. They may work for commercial/ non-commercial research, development and testing laboratories, observatories, planetarium, science park etc. Degree/ Diploma/ Doctorate holder in these disciplines can find job opportunities in major establishments like the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), Space Physics Laboratories, Space Applications Centres, etc. One can also join non-profit organizations like the Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA) which is involved in telescope making, organizing observation sessions for the public and popularization of Astronomy.