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  • Category: Career Guidance

    Education track to become an Astronomer


    Aspiring to become an astronomer? Searching for the suitable courses to take up this career? On this Ask Expert page find guidance from experts.

    I am studying 12th and have taken PCM (Physics, Chemistry, Maths). I am interested in astronomy and willing to become an astronomer.
    Can you suggest me which course to opt in under graduation? Which courses would be helpful in the career of Astronomy?
  • #146396
    You have the following option.
    1. You can join in B.Sc Physics. Once you pass B.Sc you can opt for M.Sc Astrophysics course. This will give you a in-depth knowledge in astronomy. You can go for Ph. D in astronomy. This one way.
    2. After 12th class you can opt for B.Tech Aeronautics. This will give you some inputs about astronomy. After B.Tech you can do M.Tech in Astronomy.
    Any of these two paths will give you career in astronomy.

    drrao
    always confident

  • #146399
    Thanks a lot for your kind information.
    Are there any courses like programming languages that would be helpful in the career of Astronomy. If yes can you please tell me ?

  • #146402
    As you have already taken Physics and mathematics, you can do your graduation and post graduation in physics itself (BSc Physics and MSc Physics) Further you can do Ph.D. in Astronomy & Astrophysics. A strong foundation in Mathematics and Physics is important to be a good astronomer. It is better you start learning computer coding at the earliest (Eg: Python). After completing your courses, you can work as a University Faculty, Research Scientist and so on. You can try for a job in government organizations like NASA.

    Joint Astronomy Programme: This is a one year course in astronomy provided by Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore. If you are an MSc holder or a B-Tech/B.E holder, you can apply for selection, which is done through an interview. Once you complete this course, you will get the opportunity to do Ph.D. through one of the participating institutions.

    Here is a list of some of the best institutes in India relating to this field.

    (1) Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore (IIA)
    (2) Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (TIFR)
    (3) IndianInstitute of Science, Bangalore (IISc)
    (4) Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune (IUCAA)
    (5) National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Pune (NCRA)

    The observing facilities available in A&A are:
    (1) Optical and Infrared Astronomy
    (2) Solar Facilities
    (3) Radio Astronomy

    Regards
    Chitra
    "Do not give up, things might not favour you always"

  • #146407
    You have to study B.Sc. (Physics) and then go for M.Sc. (Astro-Physics) to become an astronomer, However, you must remember that in India, very few universities offer Astro-Physics at Master degree level. So, you would have to prepare accordingly.
    In this connection, I think that pursuing one year course in Astronomy from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru after M.Sc. (Physics) would be the most appropriate course to become an astronomer.

    Caution: Explosive. Handle with care.

  • #146409
    Glad that you have set your eyes on Astronomy. While you are finishing year 12, appear for JEE,NEST and if you are lucky get into IITs, if not you can get into BSc at a top Physics or Mathematics University and then focus of IIT-JAM to try for IIT once more or a M.Sc. India's list of colleges that offer good physics and astronomy colleges,

    1. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay(IIT-B)
    2. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (TIFR)
    3. University of Delhi (DU)
    4. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc)
    5.Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D)
    6. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras(IIT-M)
    7.Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-K)
    8. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (BHU)
    9.Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
    10.Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai (IMC)

    After this, you can consider courses like the 1 year JAP, Joint astronomy program wherein you get a chance to do research under eminent faculties and also leading on to a PhD. This would certainly open your doors to get access to publish, present and interact with national and international authorities.

    Also, try to locate an astronomy association in your city or a city nearby. For example, in Banglore, there is the Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA) who conducts summer classes, practical astronomy courses etc. The best way to find out is going to the city's large planetarium and finding out more. There are many amateur clubs (www.astrosociety.org,https://www.britastro.org/) around the world that you can register for free astronomy material and you can be on the look out for scholarships and young talent opportunities.

    Good luck!

  • #146449
    For making a career in Astronomy you have to pursue Physics in graduation as one of the subjects and after that during your postgraduation take Astrophysics or Astronomy as your specialization paper. After that you can try for Ph D in Astrophysics or Astronomy.

    Another important thing is this area uses Physics and Maths for all of its computation and research work and you must have a very good proficiency in these subjects failing which it will be difficult to pursue this as a career.

    Are you having aptitude or interest in this line or you are simply fascinated by the NASA scientists and their space research. Why I am telling this is that until unless you generate the interest in this line it will not be possible to dedicate your efforts for your career.

    Generally the people who have interest in Astronomy (Though they are not in it for making a career) as a hobby know a great deal about the universe and its mysteries. If you join an amateur astronomers group or club you will also come across such knowledge. Start accumulating these things and they will be helpful when you seriously pursue the subject as a career.

    Though it is not directly connected to your question but I will like to mention some basic but interesting things as an astronomy hobbyist which you might later feel like A, B, C ... of Astronomy -
    1. The evening star which is seen in the evening as a bright star is actually the planet Venus and with telescope you can see its phases like we see that of moon with naked eye.
    2. The size of universe is not known - research is going on.
    3. It takes months to send a rocket to Mars.
    4. Universe is so big that it is possible (though rare) that there may be similar animal/ human life as on Earth but it will be very very difficult to locate it due to distances involved.
    5. Pole star ( in hindi it is called Dhruva) seems to be at the same place not because it does not move but because of its position with respect to the Earth axis of rotation.
    ... and many such fascinating things in Astronomy.

    I do not want to consume more space here but just giving you some basic material to find out whether you are having interest in this kind of things.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #146450
    For making a career in Astronomy you have to pursue Physics in graduation as one of the subjects and after that during your postgraduation take Astrophysics or Astronomy as your specialization paper. After that you can try for Ph D in Astrophysics or Astronomy.

    Another important thing is this area uses Physics and Maths for all of its computation and research work and you must have a very good proficiency in these subjects failing which it will be difficult to pursue this as a career.

    Are you having aptitude or interest in this line or you are simply fascinated by the NASA scientists and their space research. Why I am telling this is that until unless you generate the interest in this line it will not be possible to dedicate your efforts for your career.

    Generally the people who have interest in Astronomy (Though they are not in it for making a career) as a hobby know a great deal about the universe and its mysteries. If you join an amateur astronomers group or club you will also come across such knowledge. Start accumulating these things and they will be helpful when you seriously pursue the subject as a career.

    Though it is not directly connected to your question but I will like to mention some basic but interesting things as an astronomy hobbyist which you might later feel like A, B, C ... of Astronomy -
    1. The evening star which is seen in the evening as a bright star is actually the planet Venus and with telescope you can see its phases like we see that of moon with naked eye.
    2. The size of universe is not known - research is going on.
    3. It takes months to send a rocket to Mars.
    4. Universe is so big that it is possible (though rare) that there may be similar animal/ human life as on Earth but it will be very very difficult to locate it due to distances involved.
    5. Pole star ( in hindi it is called Dhruva) seems to be at the same place not because it does not move but because of its position with respect to the Earth axis of rotation.
    ... and many such fascinating things in Astronomy.

    I do not want to consume more space here but just giving you some basic material to find out whether you are having interest in this kind of things.

    Knowledge is power.


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