SOC: 19-2011.00


Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
1,900 employed

Projected (2024):
1,900 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Analytical Sciences Director
  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Astronomer
  • Astronomy Department Chair
  • Astronomy Professor
  • Astrophysicist
  • Data Sciences Director
  • Institute Director
  • Institute Scientist
  • Life Sciences Director
  • Lunar and Planetary Institute Director
  • National Radio Astronomy Observatory Director
  • Observatory Director
  • Physics and Astronomy Professor
  • Physics Professor
  • Professor
  • Research Scientist
  • Scientist
  • Space Sciences Director

  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed


    Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.


    Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

    Job Training:

    Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media

  • Tasks:

  • Study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.
  • Analyze research data to determine its significance, using computers.
  • Present research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals.
  • Measure radio, infrared, gamma, and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources.
  • Develop theories based on personal observations or on observations and theories of other astronomers.
  • Raise funds for scientific research.
  • Collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects.
  • Develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.
  • Teach astronomy or astrophysics.
  • Develop and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation.
  • Calculate orbits and determine sizes, shapes, brightness, and motions of different celestial bodies.
  • Direct the operations of a planetarium.
  • Review scientific proposals and research papers.
  • Serve on professional panels and committees.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Atomic absorption AA spectroscopes
  • Automated telescopes
  • Ball mills
  • Baseband recorders
  • Charge-coupled device CCD imagers
  • Cryostats
  • Desktop computers
  • Differential scanning calorimeters
  • Dobsonian telescopes
  • Doppler Rayleigh laser imaging ranging and detecting LIDAR systems
  • Ebert-Fastie spectrometers
  • Echelle spectrometers
  • Electron beam ion traps EBIT
  • European VLBI Network EVN telescopes
  • Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers
  • High powered binoculars
  • High resolution spectrographs
  • Interferometers
  • Laptop computers
  • Laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems
  • Low resolution imaging spectrographs
  • Multi-object spectrographs MOS
  • Near-infrared imagers and spectrometers NIRI
  • Near-infrared integral field spectrometers
  • Optical interferometers
  • Optical telescopes
  • Personal computers
  • Photometers
  • Planetary radar transmitters
  • Pulsar processors
  • Radio antennas
  • Radio telescopes
  • Reflector telescopes
  • Refracting telescopes
  • Resonance fluorescence laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems
  • Scanning telescopes
  • Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes
  • Scientific calculators
  • Single-dish radio telescopes
  • Solar telescope filters
  • Solar telescopes
  • Spectroscopes
  • Thermal evaporators
  • Tilting filter photometers
  • Very large array VLA telescopes
  • Very long baseline array VLBA telescopes
  • Wide-field mosaic charge-coupled device CCD cameras
  • Wideband pulsar processors
  • X ray diffractometers
  • Abstraction plus reference plus synthesis A++
  • Adaptive optics AO simulation software
  • Analyz
  • Astronomical Image Processing for Windows AIP4WIN
  • Astronomical Image Processing System AIPS
  • Astronomical information processing system AIPS++
  • Avis Fits Viewer
  • C++
  • Data reduction software
  • Diffraction Limited MaxIm DL
  • European Southern Observatory Munich Image Data Analysis System ESO-MIDAS
  • Formula translation/translator FORTRAN
  • Interface definition language IDL
  • IRIS
  • Linux
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Word
  • MSB Software Astroart
  • Multipurpose Interactive Image Processing System MIIPS
  • National Instruments LabVIEW
  • Python
  • SAS software
  • Software Bisque CCDSoft
  • Spectroscopy databases
  • Starcal
  • Visual Numerics PV-WAVE
  • Web browser software

  • life physical and social science

    industry stats

    SOC: 19-0000

    Total Employed: 1,146,110

    Average Annual Salary: $71,220