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Thinking of becoming an astronomer

  1. May 1, 2012 #1
    Hello all. My name is Stew. As the title says, I'm contemplating becoming an astronomer. I'm 23 and spent the last five years in the Navy. I'm out now and want to go to college. (I'm currently stuck in the field I had in the military because I have no other skill sets that will get me a job) Sadly, I was a slacker in high school and didn't take advantage of what was offered to me. I have nobody around me who is capable of helping me with this and I'm not sure what to do or where to start. What steps do I need to take to achieve my dream? And once I achieve them, how difficult is it to find a job? Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2012 #2
    One thing that you should consider doing is to check out this web site


    For about $10K of investment you can put together a decent amateur astronomy observatory and do useful research.

    Take things one step at a time. First thing is to take some basic physics courses (intro mechanics/calculus). The thing about these courses is that they will be extremely useful regardless of whether you want to do astronomy or not.

    Here are the web pages with all of the positions open to Ph.D. astrophysicists


    The fact everything fits on one page should tell you something.

    Asking "what do I do to become a research professor in astronomy" is pretty close to asking "what do I do to become a major league baseball player." There are in fact more new positions open in the professional baseball than there are professional astronomy (one reason why is that baseball player retire a lot earlier. There aren't any 85 year old professional baseball players, but I know of several eighty year old physicists that are doing top-notch work.)

    Finding someone that is obsessed with astronomy is like finding someone obsessed with baseball. I don't want to discourage you from trying to be a major league baseball player, but I do think it's important to give you a reality check.
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
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