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What You Need to Know About Astronomer

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

Astronomer Responsibilities

  • Present research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals.
  • Serve on professional panels and committees.
  • Teach astronomy or astrophysics.
  • Study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.
  • Measure radio, infrared, gamma, and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources.
  • Raise funds for scientific research.

Astronomer Needed Skills

When polled, Astronomers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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.

  • Astrophysicist
  • Research Scientist
  • Institute Director
  • Physics Professor
  • Physics and Astronomy Professor

Astronomer Job Outlook

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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 200 job openings in this field each 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

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


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 to Become an Astronomer

Education needed to be an Astronomer:


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where Astronomers Are Employed


The table below shows the approximate number of Astronomers employed by various industries.



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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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