According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary for an astronomer in 2012 was $96,460 per year. Individual astronomer salaries vary depending on geographic location, education, experience and employment sector.
The American Astronomical Society states that salaries for astronomers in higher education vary depending on the size, quality and competitiveness of the school. Assistant astronomy professors make an average of $50,000 per year, senior professors earn $80,000-100,000 per year. Post-doctoral pay for astronomers ranges between $35,000 and $45,000 per year.
According to the Houston Chronicle, astronomers that work in the private sector earned an average of $100,000 per year as of 2011. Those that worked for the federal government earned an average of $132,000 per year.