Q:

What education does an astronomer need?

A:

Astronomers need a very advanced education, including an undergraduate degree in a physical science or mathematics and a master’s degree in an astronomy-related field. Most working astronomers have a doctorate in their specialty as well. However, most hopeful astronomers get the chance to work in the field while attaining their advanced education.

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Many astronomers attain their education at universities and colleges that are well known for their astronomy and physics departments. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge University and Stanford University have prestigious astronomy programs draw a number of students each year.

In addition to becoming educated on subjects such as astronomy, physics and mathematics, hopeful astronomers must learn about the scientific process. It is also important for astronomers to be comfortable with the type of technology used in modern observatories and laboratories. Astronomy and the related sciences change quickly, so it is imperative for astronomers to read current scientific journals to keep their knowledge set up to date.

Besides an education centered around science, astronomers must also have a command of the English language so that they can write about their discoveries. A knowledge of the history of science and culture also helps astronomers understand the impacts of their work.

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