Astronomers study the universe and its celestial bodies by collecting and analyzing data. They also compute positions of stars and planets and calculate orbits of comets, asteroids, and artificial satellites. They strive to explain how the universe came to exist, how elements formed, why galaxies look the way they do, and whether there is other life in the universe. Astronomers make statistical studies of stars and galaxies and prepare mathematical tables giving positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars at a given time. They st...
Minimum Education Level
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, astronomers had median annual earnings of $105,680 in May 2018. Salaries ranged from less than $57,490 to $165,770 or more annually. The average salary for astronomers employed by the federal government was $148,950, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In 2019, NASA astronomers earned an average salary of $89,219, according to PayScale.
Astronomers' activities may center on the optical telescope. Most telescopes are located high on a hill or mountain and normally in a fairly remote area, where the air is clean and the view is not affected by lights from unrelated sources. There are approximately 300 of these observatories in the United States.
Astronomers working in these observatories usually are assigned to observatio...
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for astronomers will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2028, with opportunities expected to be good in government (especially national laboratories) and academia.
The federal government will continue to provide employment opportunities for astronomers. More funding has been made available for research at the Nat...