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Astronomy is the science of studying the universe, therefore an astronomer is a person who studies, classifies, and describes the phenomena of the heavens. Astronomers use physics and mathematics to learn the fundamental nature of the sun, moon, planets, stars and galaxies, they aim to classify and describe events that occur in the night time sky. The work involves using telescopes, but astronomy is largely about using physics, mathematics and IT to analyse data and images gathered by observatories, both aboard spacecraft and ground based.
On a day to day basis, the job involves:
Researching; mostly with computers, analysing data collected by telescopes, or to do calculations or simulations about astronomical phenomena.
Writing; astronomers write papers for scientific journals, reports about their work for conferences, and proposals for telescope time.
Reading; like most scientists, astronomers have to spend a lot of time reading about what other people working in their field have done, so that they can figure out what they should do and how.
Listening/Talking; talking about the work and listening to other people talk about theirs is an important part of science. Astronomers frequently work at universities across the Globe.
Building; some astronomers work on building new instruments for telescopes, or new telescopes. This takes a lot of time in the shop, working on designs, or being in meetings.
A newly qualified astronomer with a PhD may earn around £25,000. The most senior astronomers may earn up to £65,000.
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