61 FAQs about A Career in Astronomy (The Astronomy Cafe)

A professional astronomer's organization: The American Astronomical Society

Visit a professional journal: The Astrophysical Journal

Essays about the career: Dr. Odenwald's Career Diary

 Back to the Astronomy Cafe - 365 of the most popular questions since 1996. Over 1 million page requests!


  1. [Updated]How do astronomers get paid?
  2. [Updated]What education do you need to become a professional astronomer?
  3. [Updated]What is a typical day like for an astronomer?

  4. What is the future job outlook for careers in astronomy?
  5. How much mathematics do astronomers need to know?
  6. Do you have any optimistic words for a 17 year old student interested in planetary astronomy?
  7. Any good advice for someone wanting to be an astronomers?
  8. Are there any jobs in astronomy or space science for people with less that a Masters Degree?
  9. Can a 'very good' high school student become an astronomer, or will I have to live with my parents the rest of my life?
  10. When did you become an astronomer, and was it hard to do?
  11. When were you first introduced to astronomy?
  12. I am not very strong in math or physics. Is there still hope for me to get into astronomy?
  13. How did you get interested in astronomy and do you find it as interesting as you did then?
  14. What advice do you have for an aspiring astronomer weak in math?
  15. Is your job interesting?
  16. What math courses do you need to take to understand cosmology?
  17. Do astronomers spend a lot of time looking through telescopes at work?
  18. Do astronomers work a lot at night?
  19. What are the results from your survey of what it takes to be an astronomer?
  20. What are the benefits of being an astronomer?
  21. Does a career in astronomy take up much of your free time?
  22. What are the pros and cons of a career in astronomy?
  23. What is a good grade point average to have if you want to be an astronomer?
  24. What education do you need to be an astronomer?
  25. Why did you become an astronomer?
  26. Is astronomy fun?
  27. What types of people do you work with?
  28. What interesting things have you experienced in your career?
  29. What do you specialize in?
  30. What is your favorite part of astronomy?
  31. What kind of equipment do you use in your research?
  32. What activities do you carry out on a typical day?
  33. What inspired you to become an astronomer?
  34. Is it important to enter graduate school immediately after getting a degree in physics or astronomy?
  35. To be an astronomer, do I have to be another Einstein?
  36. How do astronomers get jobs?
  37. How many different areas of astronomy are currently under investigation?
  38. Is it easy to discover something unusual?
  39. What kinds of real-life accidents happen to astronomers or physicists?
  40. What courses did you take in school to become an astronomer and what were your grades?
  41. How good does your math have to be to be a physicist?
  42. What determines whether a particular new Phd gets a stable job in astronomy or not?
  43. Does astronomy cease to be 'fun' after you go professional?
  44. What is the average IQ of an astronomer or space scientist?
  45. What interested you in space?
  46. With so few jobs in astronomy, why do so many undergraduates major in it?
  47. Does it bother you that you will not be around long enough to see future discoveries?


  1. [Updated]How is it decided which programs are going to be supported by NASA?

  2. What do you see astronomy being like in the 21st century?
  3. What distinguishes ancient astronomy from modern astronomy?
  4. Is there a future to a career in astronomy?
  5. What aspect of your career is the most favorite to you?
  6. How many papers do astronomers publish each year?
  7. What are the most actively researched areas in astronomy today?
  8. How many astronomers are there in the United States?
  9. What is the difference between astronomy and astrophysics?
  10. How do astronomers get financial support to carry out their research programs?
  11. How many different areas of astronomy are currently under investigation?
  12. How rapidly is astronomical research growing?
  13. How has astronomy contributed to your spiritual development?

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