Discover your career path




Explore the science behind stars, planets, and galaxies.

Salary Range

$100,590 - $165,280

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does an Astronomer do?

Astronomers study celestial bodies like stars, planets, comets, and black holes. Your work transports you millions of light years away even though your seat is firmly planted on Earth. You explore the most unknown parts of the galaxy, and are the first to identify new planets and solar systems as technology allows you to reach farther and farther out into the cosmos.

When someone says “stars,” the rest of us think of Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. But you automatically think of constellations like Orion and the Big Dipper. That’s why this job is a perfect fit for you. You’re much more interested in real stars than the ones in Hollywood.

On a typical day, you use principles of math and physics to determine how and why bodies in space behave the way they do. Sometimes, your research will focus on the Earth itself. The theory of gravity, for example, was developed by an Astronomer. You also work closely with space programs, using applied research techniques to help Astronauts safely navigate space ships, collect celestial data, and install satellite cameras that photograph the universe.

As an Astronomer, you join a scientific field with a long history–one that involved overcoming many obstacles to become the respected profession it is today. Early Astronomers like Galileo and Copernicus were the first to discover that the Earth revolved around the sun instead of the other way around. Their views were initially rejected because they were so revolutionary. There was even a time in history when astronomy wasn’t considered a real science, and practicing it was illegal.