Summary Report for:
19-2011.00 - Astronomers
Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.
Sample of reported job titles: Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Data Scientist, Research Scientist, Scientist
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Mentor graduate students and junior colleagues.
- Present research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals.
- Collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects.
- Analyze research data to determine its significance, using computers.
- Study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.
- Supervise students' research on celestial and astronomical phenomena.
- Raise funds for scientific research.
- Teach astronomy or astrophysics.
- Measure radio, infrared, gamma, and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources.
- Develop instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.
- Review scientific proposals and research papers.
- Develop theories based on personal observations or on observations and theories of other astronomers.
- Calculate orbits and determine sizes, shapes, brightness, and motions of different celestial bodies.
- Serve on professional panels and committees.
- Develop and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation.
- Analytical or scientific software — IBM SPSS Statistics ; SAS ; The MathWorks MATLAB ; Visual Numerics PV-WAVE (see all 16 examples)
- Data base management system software — Apache Hadoop
- Data base user interface and query software — Spectroscopy databases; Structured query language SQL
- Development environment software — Abstraction plus reference plus synthesis A++; Formula translation/translator FORTRAN; National Instruments LabVIEW ; Software development tools (see all 5 examples)
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Avis Fits Viewer; IRIS
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Oracle Java ; Python ; R
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Linux
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Atomic absorption AA spectrometers — Atomic absorption AA spectroscopes
- Binoculars — High powered binoculars
- Calorimeters — Differential scanning calorimeters
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras — Wide-field mosaic charge-coupled device CCD cameras
- Digital readout recorders — Baseband recorders
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers
- Interferometers — Optical interferometers
- Ionization chambers — Electron beam ion traps EBIT
- Laboratory evaporators — Thermal evaporators
- Laboratory mills — Ball mills
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Photometers — Tilting filter photometers
- Polarizers — Solar telescope filters
- Radarbased surveillance systems — Doppler Rayleigh laser imaging ranging and detecting LIDAR systems; Laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems; Resonance fluorescence laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems
- Radio antennas
- Radio frequency transmitters or receivers — Planetary radar transmitters
- Scientific calculator — Scientific calculators
- Spectrographs — High resolution spectrographs; Low resolution imaging spectrographs; Multi-object spectrographs MOS
- Spectrometers — Ebert-Fastie spectrometers; Near-infrared imagers and spectrometers NIRI; Pulsar processors; Wideband pulsar processors (see all 7 examples)
- Telescopes — Automated telescopes; Optical telescopes; Very large array VLA telescopes; Very long baseline array VLBA telescopes (see all 14 examples)
- X ray diffraction equipment — X ray diffractometers
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Detailed Work Activities
- Advise students on academic or career matters.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Support the professional development of others.
- Analyze operational or research data.
- Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.
- Direct scientific activities.
- Supervise student research or internship work.
- Prepare proposals or grant applications to obtain project funding.
- Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
- Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.
- Measure environmental characteristics.
- Measure radiation levels.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Develop theories or models of physical phenomena.
- Serve on institutional or departmental committees.
- Provide technical information or assistance to public.
- Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 95% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 82% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 73% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 73% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 62% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 41% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 68% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Contact With Others — 32% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Important.”
- Public Speaking — 36% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 41% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Letters and Memos — 36% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Time Pressure — 59% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||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).|
|Related Experience||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.|
|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.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: IAR Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$57.56 hourly, $119,730 annual|
|Employment (2019)||2,300 employees|
|Projected growth (2019-2029)||Slower than average (1% to 2%)|
|Projected job openings (2019-2029)||100|
|Top industries (2019)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2019-2029 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Astronomical Society
- American Geophysical Union
- American Institute of Physics
- American Physical Society
- Astronomical Society of the Pacific
- International Astronomical Union
- National Academy of Sciences
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physicists and astronomers
- Universities Space Research Association