Astronomer Working Conditions

Posted in Career Blog

If you are considering the job path of an astronomer, you probably want to know exactly what the working conditions and daily tasks of such a position would entail; to know if it the correct choice for you. Each career has its own environment and set of working conditions to be involved with on a daily basis. When it comes to that of an astronomer, the working conditions are very unique-which could be work towards or against your particular interests in your career. Below, we discuss the nature, function, and details of the typical astronomer working conditions and environment.
As one might expect of any scientific position and career, the working condition of an astronomer is one that is both in the field and in the scientific laboratory. This can make for a challenging experience for anyone working in this science-no matter their astronomy specialty, as their time is split up between these two locations. As their main functions are studying the cosmos and all that it holds, this can mean long days of time spent in the laboratory analyzing scientific data, hours spent in the field gathering this data, and the rest of the time doing research regarding theory and study. This can extend the day well beyond the average 8 hour day.
More specifically, according to the specific astronomy specialty that the astronomer has chosen for their career; their day in these three entities could be split up with more or less time spent in each, and spent on different topics of astronomic interest. Those who study astronomy theory spend more time analyzing the standardized laws of the science, while others spend most of their job analyzing data found in the field of space observation, and writing reports on these findings. Still other classifications of astronomers review the solar system in teams on the ground with optical and radio telescopes and other observational equipment, but these types of trips are typically only a few weeks out of a year. If you choose to not work in the typical environments of labs and analytic observation and study-such as for large scale astronomic studying institutions such as the U.S. Naval Observatory and NASA; you could join the small percentage of astronomers who work to educate the public through museum and planetarium programs-with in-house seminars, projects, and the like.
Of course, as technology advances, a lot fewer astronomical scientists spend their time analyzing and observing their science in the field. Though satellites, probes, and other automated space observation tools have been automated for quite some time; they have not been as convenient to use and accurate in their observation and measurements as today. Technological advances have advanced our abilities to better understand all that is housed in our solar system, and this leads many astronomers to positions that serve and analyze the data found through this automation. Of course, there is still a potent amount of astronomers who use these on ground observation and somewhat antiquated ways of observing their science, simply for a return to the simple reason of why they became astronomers in the first place: their love for the planets, stars, and galaxy.

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