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Astronomers study the universe to help us understand the physical matter and processes in our own solar system and other galaxies. It involves studying large objects, such as planets, as well as tiny particles. They may specialise in a particular area, for example tracking the position and movement of space objects or how galaxies are formed.

The Work

You might:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

The starting salaries for astronomers in postdoctoral research posts are normally in the range of £28,000 to £37,000 a year. Senior (or advanced) researchers and university lecturers earn up to £60,000 a year.


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Getting In

Most astronomy jobs are attached to universities. Because competition for astronomy jobs is fierce, many astronomy graduates work in related areas such as systems analysis, software development, aerospace or satellite research and development.

Students with PhDs in astrophysics or astronomy are very employable because of their skills in mathematical modelling and data handling. These skills are relevant to banking, finance, education, the scientific civil service and in managing science.

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What Does it Take?

You must be:

You should have:


Getting On


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

British Astronomical Association
Tel: 020 7734 4145
Twitter: @BritAstro

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
Tel: 020 7734 4582/3307
Twitter: @RoyalAstroSoc

The Royal Astronomical Society is a professional body which encourages and promotes not only astronomy but also geophysics, solar and solar-terrestrial physics and planetary sciences.

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
Twitter: @RoyalObs

Science Council
Tel: 020 3434 2020
Website (2):
Twitter: @Science_Council

The Science Council promotes the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of and education in science, technology, mathematics, computing and information technology. It awards the designation of Chartered Scientist (CSci) to those candidates who can meet the high standards required.

Society for Popular Astronomy
Twitter: @popastro

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