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  • Category: Career Guidance

    To become an Astronomer, is a Ph.D. degree a must?

    Planning to become an astronomer? Want to know whether a PhD degree is necessary to take up this career? On this Ask Expert page you can check out the responses and decide your plan of action.

    A career in astronomy is the right choice for one who interested to study stars, moons, planets, and comets, galaxies, etc. What jobs are likely to be available to someone who has studied astronomy?. How to become an astronomer?. To become an astronomer, is a Ph.D. degree a must?
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    5 Answers found.
  • Astronomy is the science that deals with space beyond the Earth's atmosphere. It is the scripture of the movement, nature, and composition of celestial bodies present in the universe. There is also a study of the rules laid down for their history and possible development. Although the use of state-of-the-art technology and gadgets has made astronomy a distinct mode, it is in fact a very old model. Since ancient times, human planets and space bodies have been studying, including great mathematicians and astronomers such as Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya, Galileo, and Newton has a significant contribution.

    Educational Qualification - If you want to step into the mysterious and exciting world of space, then you can take a course in Astronomy.

    1. Bachelor of Physics or Mathematics Pass Students Theoretical Astronomy.
    2. BE (Bachelor of Electronic / Electrical / Electrical Communication) degree is required for admission in Instrumentation / Experimental Astronomy.
    3. If you want to take admission in the Ph.D. course (Physics, Theoretical and Observational Astronomy, Atmospheric and Space Science, etc.), then you have to pass the Joint Entrance Screening Test - Joint Entrance Screening Test.
    - For this exam, a master's degree in physics or a bachelor's degree in engineering is required.
    - An MSc course in Space Science is available at the University of Pune.
    - One can do an MSc course in Astronomy from Bangalore University and the University of Calicut.

    Types of Astronomy
    In Astronomy, scientific studies are done about stars, planets, comets, etc. At the same time, it is also tried to know what kind of activities are happening outside the Earth's atmosphere. It has many branches.

    * Astro Meteorology: In this part of astronomy, information is collected about the position and motion of celestial objects. An attempt is made to know what kind of effects celestial things have on the Earth's atmosphere.
    * Astrophysics: Under it, the physical property of celestial things is studied.
    * Astrogeology: Under this, the study of the structure and composition of planets is studied, to understand this, a deep study of the solar system, planet, star, satellite, etc. is necessary.

    Institute to pursue Course -

    Raman Research Institute, CV Raman Avenue, Bangalore
    Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
    Indian Institute of Astrophysics,
    Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
    Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
    Radio Astronomy Center, Tamil Nadu
    Osmania University, Hyderabad
    Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
    Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab
    Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala

  • For becoming a professional astronomer seeking job in good positions in India or abroad, a PhD is required to be done in this area. The way to become an astronomer starts with completing 10+2 with science subjects including Physics and Mathematics. Then one has to go for UG course in science subjects including Astronomy, Physics, and Mathematics. Alternatively one can do with Physics and Mathematics also but then for doing Masters in Astronomy the preference in admission might get reduced. After completing the Masters degree one has to register for PhD in some specialised topic in Astronomy. There are many topics available for research in this vast area. In some places Astrophysics is used in place of Astronomy. This is a nomenclature part only. Even after doing ones B.E. or B.Tech. one can try to get admission in Masters in Physics or Astrophysics or Astronomy to make a shift in career. The admission to PhD programmes are generally based on the result of GATE / UGC NET / JEST etc.

    For making a career in this area it is advisable to have interest in amateur astronomy (which incidentally any person with some little science background like 10+2 can do) which is a very interesting field and one can know many basic things about universe while pursuing this hobby. Many amateur astronomers did amazing discoveries while gazing the night sky.

    Some of the reputed institutions in our country for doing courses in Astronomy are -
    1. Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram.
    2. The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP), Bangalore.
    3. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.
    4. Osmania University, Hyderabad.
    5. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

    After doing the requisite courses in Astronomy one can try for teaching positions in the universities and institutes where Astronomy/Astrophysics are regular offered as career courses to the eligible candidates. One can also guide the students in research also. There are some apex organisations in the country where the Astronomy qualified people are recruited in various positions. Some of them are Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) etc. For brilliant students there are opportunities in world leading scientific organisations like NASA in USA and European Space agency Europe.

    Knowledge is power.

  • To become an astronomer one should do his Masters degree in Astronomy or Applied Physics. You can get a job with PG qualification itself and while working as a scientist definitely you can complete your PhD also. Some universities offer a PG programme in Astrophysics and that is also very good to become an astronomer.
    Generally, the following are the duties of an astronomer:
    1. Matter and energy in the universe and its study
    2. Research on space, stars, moon, galaxies etc.
    3. Studying and analysing the findings of the research results and finding the facts.
    4. Designing various studies and carrying out the studies etc.

    The following jobs are available for these scientists.
    1, Astronomy teaching in universities and colleges
    2. Research Scientist
    3, Astronomer
    4, Physicist
    5. Computer modelling and designing etc.

    The following are some of the institutes offering PG course in this subject.
    1.Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
    2. India Institute of Technology, New Delhi
    3. Indian Institute of Technology Madras
    4. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
    5. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
    6, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
    7. Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
    8. Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi
    9.Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
    10. Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati

    always confident

  • Astronomy is the branch of science dealing with the study of celestial objects and if pursued, the aspirants would be able to identify the relative motion and their attraction towards one another. The aspirants can opt for the two routs for admission to M.SC in Astronomy which are indicated below -
    1) The aspirants should have passed 10+2 with Physics and Mathematics and should take up B.SC with Physics and Mathematics securing at least 55 percent marks so as to get a seat in M.SC Astronomy in the topmost institution. They will have to qualify both oral and written test set for the admission procedure. Afterwards, Ph.D degree would be essential to have better prospects in this area.
    2) The other way could be to pass B.E. with any stream from a reputed university and later should write either GATE or UGC NET and scoring of high percentile would enable them to be admitted in a leading institution. Further taking up for Ph.D would widen their prospects.
    The following institutions are considered topmost institutions and the candidates can choose the same provided they clear both written and oral test set by the admission committee. The following institutions making career in Astronomy would provide quality education in this field-
    1) IIT Gauhati
    2) Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru.
    3) Osmania University, Hyderabad
    4) Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu
    5) Kolkata University, Kolkata etc
    Admission in such institutions is based upon your performance in both the written and oral test and a thorough preparation would be required relating to Astronomy, Physics especially the optics and Mechanics and sound concepts of Mathematics. They may go through the previous year question papers to understand the pattern of questions.

  • We know that Astronomy is the area of science education which deals with outer space objects like planets, stars, comets, galaxies, and their phenomena like their physical and chemical properties, etc. An astronomer is a person who applies the principles of Mathematics and science i.e. Chemistry and Physics to study the Universe using telescopes, computer programs, and collecting information on the celestial bodies in the Universe.

    Q: How to become an astronomer? Is a Ph.D. degree a must?
    Ans: The requirement to get into astronomy or to become an astronomer varies from institutions to institutions or universities to universities but the basic criteria are given below:
    The applicant must have completed his HSC/+2 in the science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
    They can then get into astronomy for their graduation with Physics and mathematics as their secondary subjects. The candidate can specialize in instrumental/theoretical/experimental or observational astronomy.
    a) Candidates from the engineering background can also apply if they have completed their full-time B.E/ B.Tech degree in electrical/electronic communication. They can opt for experimental or instrumental astronomy. The courses are B.Sc in Astronomy / Astrophysics which are 3 years full-time course or as mentioned, B.Tech in related Engineering which is a 4 years full-time course.
    b) After their graduation, they need to go for post-graduation (PG) in Physics or Astronomy. i.e. M.Sc. in Astronomy/ M.Tech in Astronomy and Space Engineering
    c) After completing their post-graduation, they need to take the entrance test and interview (depends upon the institution) for completing their Ph.D. which will be your specialization in the astronomy field. Ph.D. in Astronomy / Astrophysics / Astronomy and Astrophysics or Atmospheric Science and Astrophysics. One can also join Integrated Courses i.e. M.Sc – Ph.D. Course in Physics and Astrophysics / M.Tech – Ph.D. (Tech.) course in Astronomical Instrumentation.
    As mentioned above, to become an astronomer, one needs to have a doctorate or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in astronomy, physics, or a related field that is essential for staff and researcher positions.

    Some of the entrance exams conducted by institutes throughout India for completing their Ph.D. basic requirement to become an astronomer are:
    1. Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) which is conducted every year in the month of February whose advertisement is given in the leading news channels and newspapers.
    2. Joint Astronomy Programme (JAP) is conducted by IIA, IISc, and RRI at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The selection process and the interview of the final candidates normally completed in the month of July.
    3. The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) selects the candidates through screening from the JES (Joint Entrance Screening) Exam which is held in the month of February every year. IIA then conducts their exam in the month of November every year whose advertisement is published by September.
    4. Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) conducts its written exam in the month of July every year followed by an interview. The selected candidates need to clear the UGC-Net, GATE, or CSIR exam within a span of 1 year after getting admitted for their Ph.D. program.
    5. Autonomous Research Institutes (ARI): RRI, NCRA, UPSO, ISRO conduct the entrance exam every year for ARI and the qualifying candidates are called for the interview in July.

    Q: Which are the colleges in India that provide courses in the field of Astronomy/Astrophysics?
    A: Some of the top colleges that provide courses in the field of Astronomy/Astrophysics are as given below:
    1. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Chennai, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mumbai, and New Delhi.
    2. Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)- Pilani
    3. Indian Institute of Technology Madras ( IITM)- Chennai
    4. Indian Institute of Science (IISc)- Bangalore
    5. The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP), Bangalore
    6. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
    7. Osmania University, Hyderabad
    8. National Institute of Technology (NIT)- Thiruchirapalli
    9. Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram
    10. Indian Institute of Technology ( BHU IIT )- Varanasi

    Q: What jobs are likely to be available to someone who has studied astronomy?
    Ans: If you want to be a reputed astronomer then you will have to start from the basics i.e. enhance your skills and experience by doing practical work doing a fellowship at local or foreign universities. This will help you with computing, mathematical analysis, data reduction, and instrumentation which will be an add-on for you. After having enough experience one can apply to NASA, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), CERN, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Technology Information, Forecasting, and Assessment Council (TIFAC), etc. Other than that one can also work as an Aeronautical Engineer, Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Climatologist, College professor, Meteorologist, Physicist, Planetarium director, Research Scientist, Senior Technical writer, etc. which also pays well in terms of salary.

    “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." — Morrie Schwartz

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