Astronomy is one of the most ancient sciences which was carried out by many civilizations. It is the most contemporary subject because of the technology and development initiated towards it. Many observations of the night sky were made by the ancient Indians, Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, Iranians, Maya, indigenous Americans and the Chinese. Ancient Astronomy was inclusive of making of the calendars, celestial navigation, astrometry and observational astronomy. But today, Professional Astronomy is more synonymous to Astrophysics. It is an observational and natural science that studies and researches celestial phenomena and bodies. Astronomy is the knowledge and application required to explore more about the celestial bodies such as the moon, sun, Earth, space, meteors, stars, black holes etc. With the application of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, the development of the phenomena and bodies in the Universe is thoroughly researched and studied. It has been divided into two kinds: Theoretical and Observational.
Theoretical astronomy emphasizes the evolution of analytical models or computer to explain astronomical phenomena and objects.
Observational astronomy is aimed towards analysing and acquiring data.
They both accompany each other. The observations are required to ensure theoretical results and theoretical results to describe observational results. Astrometry is the most ancient field of astronomy. Astrophysics is the discipline that deals with the study of the behaviour, interaction and physical properties of the bodies in the Universe.
Astronomy and astrophysics are now thought of as twins. Many discoveries in the field of Astronomy were the result of researches led by amateur astronomers. All phenomena that are outside the atmosphere of Earth are studied in astronomy to discover the evolution process of objects in Space.
Why should one study Astronomy?
Astronomy is fascinating and triggers the researching kind of mind. It helps you study Physics at an expert level. It is about the Universe and teaches practical applications. It is a very dynamic discipline offering multitude of subfields that interest the student. You can use skills learnt in the discipline of Astronomy in various subjects and researches. It helps you discover the unknown objects in Space.
What are the types of Astronomy?
Major Branches of Astronomy include Observational and Theoretical Astronomy.
Observational Astronomy includes the subfields mentioned below:
Radio Astronomy is concerned with the study of the radio emissions coming from the celestial bodies.
Infrared Astronomy is the study of objects seen via Infrared variation.
Optical Astronomy deals with telescopes and the recording with the help of media which captures the visible light.
X-Ray Astronomy deals with detecting and measuring high electromagnetic radiation coming from celestial objects.
Gamma Ray Astronomy is concerned with the observation of the highest powerful electromagnetic rays.
Branches not related to electromagnetic spectrum
Ultraviolet Astronomy is concerned with the examination of electromagnetic radiation coming from the celestial bodies having wavelength between 10 and 320 nanometres.
Astrometry is concerned with the precise measuring of the movements and positions of the celestial bodies and stars.
Celestial Mechanics is concerned with calculating motions of celestial bodies, fo example, planets.
Theoretical Astronomy includes the following subfields:
Planetary Science deals with the study of moons, planets and its systems.
Galactic Astronomy is concerned with the studies relating to the Milky Way galaxy and its objects.
Stellar Astronomy is concerned with the studies relating to the stars.
Extragalactic Astronomy deals with galaxies except the Milky Way galaxy.
Physical Cosmology is concerned with the examination and learning of the largest dynamics and structures of the Universe.
Interdisciplinary subjects assisting Astronomy:
Archeoastronomy is concerned with the study of astronomical theories and concepts pf prehistoric civilizations
Astrostatistics extends Astrophysics, data mining and statistical analysis.
Astrobiology concerns with the development of the Universe’s biologic systems.
Astrochemistry is concerned with the study of the molecules in the Universe.
Cosmochemistry is concerned with chemical contents of matter in the Universe and the procedure that resulted to those compositions.
Forensic Astronomy is concerned with determining the sky’s appearance at different times in the past.
Why should one study in foreign countries?
Foreign countries like the USA, the UK, Australia are developed and offer the best of technology and research related resources. It helps the student become self-dependent and learn the art of managing and surviving in a not so familiar place. The best Universities for the subject one chooses might not be in the country of citizenship. Foreign education provides exposure to students’ skills. There are many scholarships available once the student gets admitted in the foreign universities. Adapting to different cultures gives the student the knowledge to easily get used to future working places.
What are the entry requirements to get admitted for an astronomy course?
The entry requirements vary from one university to another university. Though, the student’s interest is the main requirement of the course, proficiency skills In Physics and Mathematics is a must. Also, a student must have interest in Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Geography can help the student get admitted in a particular Astronomy course. Students are taught to use star charts, telescopes and many other interesting things. Universities assess the student’s skills by research reports and practical tests.
What are the Degrees offered by Astronomy departments in various universities?
Bachelors of Arts in Astronomy: For those students who don’t have any future plans to pursue graduate course in Astrophysics but hold deep interests in Astronomy’s course is more about museums, planetarium and the art of teaching Astronomy.
Bachelors of Science in Astrophysics: For those students who want to become professional Astronomers. This course helps students in Computer Science and Physics.
Top Universities for studying Astronomy
United States of America
- Massachusetts University of Technology (MIT)
- Harvard University
- University of California, Berkeley
- Stanford University
- California Institute of Technology
- Princeton University
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Chicago
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- Yale University
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- University of Oxford
- University of Cambridge
- Imperial College London
- The University of Manchester
- ETH Zurich- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
- EPFL-Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
- Kyoto University
- The University of Tokyo
- Ludwig -Maximilians-Universitat Munchen
- Technical University of Munich
- National University of Singapore (NUS)
- Sapienza University of Rome
Careers and Job opportunities
A doctorate astronomy student can go for jobs in observatories, research centres, planetariums and museums. He can take jobs as a Data Scientist/ Analyst, Researcher, etc. By 2024, the demand for Astronomers will rise 10% of the current jobs. It is an expansive and growing field to opt for. An astronomer can teach the relevant subjects as a professor in top universities.
In all, Astronomy gives you a range of career options to choose from. The salary of Astronomers ranges from $ 114,000 to $ 158,000.