Western Slope Skies - Careers In Astronomy

Jul 29, 2016

Today, I thought you might like to hear how any young person can get started on a career path to astronomy.

There are MANY specialties in astronomy.  For example, you could study how the planets formed or determine the composition of distant stars or try to find the key to dark energy. 

The list of options for your career in astronomy is almost as big as the Universe!

Local amateur astronomy clubs, like the Black Canyon Astronomical Society, welcome students and provide a lot of encouragement.  We conduct outreach sessions at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park throughout the summer, as well as events at schools, when our schedule permits during the school year.

The University of Arizona offers Astronomy Camps.  A consortium of colleges, including CU-Boulder offer a Summer Science Program.

Involvement in citizen science projects in astronomy can also be a good way to get started early.  A Google search on ‘citizen science projects astronomy’ lists many opportunities.

science.nasa.gov/citizen-scientists/

www.iau.org/public/themes/citizen-science-projects/

The most important component on this path is education, especially college and graduate education.  In particular, you need a sound understanding of mathematics.  Math is the language of astronomers.

College majors that can lead to a career in astronomy include physics, engineering, geology, cosmology, and, of course, astronomy.

The American Astronomical Society is a good source of career information.  It offers profiles of astronomers in a variety of careers, many of them addressing how they got into their respective careers. 

The American Astronomical Society offers a variety of other possibly useful resources. 

aas.org/careers and aas.org/learn/careers-astronomy

Western Slope Skies is produced by members of the Black Canyon Astronomical Society. This episode was written and recorded by Bryan Cashion.