Career in Astronomy

The right sky dotted with millions of shining and twinkling stars is really a majestic spectacle to the eyes. It leaves one wondering as to where these stars come from, enchant the would with their brilliant sparkle and then vanish away, only to come back again the next night.

Similar queries and hundreds of other mysteries like the movement of planets, the showering of meteors and quest for life on other planets have left man dumbfounded. Astronomy, as a career option, enables one to unravel these mysteries.

If one is amazed at the mysteries of the universe and nurtures a desire to unravel them, one should choose the career of Astronomy. It will test one's scientific temperament and also satisfy one's curiosity.

One will get the opportunity to work with the best brains in the country and will become a part of the intellectual treasure of the would.

Astronomy is the science that deals with the material universe beyond the earth's atmosphere. It is the study of the motion, nature and constitution of heavenly bodies.

Astronomy is also the study of the laws, which govern them, as also the effects, which they produce upon one another. It seeks to unravel the probable past history of heavenly bodies and their possible future development.

Though the use of modern technology and new gadgets have made Astronomy a specialized branch of study, it is, in fact, a very old science. Man used to study the motions of planets and heavenly bodies since ancient times.

With the development of science and technology, man began to use sophisticated technological gadgets for the purpose. Aryabhatta, Bhaskara, Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton have been some of the best brains in Astronomy since the ages.

As astronomy, one has to observe the night sky and gather various data about heavenly bodies. One has to gather various data about heavenly bodies. One has to gather astronomical data, analyze them and then discern and compare them with other available data. Thereby, one will arrive at conclusions, refute old theories and build new theories.

It is generally believed that an Astronomer has to stay up the whole night to observe the night sky but with the availability of modern technology, it is possible to convert this Astronomy Job into a flexible one by the use of pre - programmed telescopes.

Astronomy is divided into several branches such as Astrophysics, Astrometeorology, Astrophysics, Astrobiology, Astrogeology and Astrometry. These branches together. Help in the holistic study of the discipline and unravel the mysteries of the universe.

Eligibility for Astronomy Courses:

For pursuing a career in Theoretical Astronomy / observations, one can do B.Sc. in Physics and / or Mathematics after 10 + 2. Master's level course in Astronomy with specialization in Theoretical Astronomy are offered by various Astronomy Institutes and Universities.

In order to pursue a career in Instrumentation / Experimental Astronomy, one can do one's Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Electrical / Electronics / Electrical Communications, after 10 + 2. Then one can appear for the Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) examination, which makes one eligible to do specialization in astronomy leading to Ph. D.


Gazing at the sky to find out patterns of movement of the stars is a long and tedious job. So patience is the first and foremost quality required to be an Astronomer. Another important personality trait required to be an Astronomer is curiosity.

One should have the undying zeal to solve mysteries and to find out answers. The aspirant should have good programming skills too and above all, a scientific bent of mind.

Astronomy Courses:

In Astronomy, there are many options available at the Master's level (M.Sc.) and at the Ph.D. level through undergraduate studies in Astronomy are not available in any University in India. One can join the one - year Joint Astronomy Program Conducted at Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore. (Karnataka).

This Astronomy Program is conducted jointly by IISc., Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore (Karnataka), Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bangalore (Karnataka) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai (Maharashtra).

Candidates are offered the opportunity to complete their Ph.D. at one of the participating institutes after the completion of this Astronomy Course.

TIFR, Mumbai and Inter - University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune are some places, which offer a research career in GTR and Cosmology.

Students are inducted into Ph.D. Programs under a two - year Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and are later offered a Senior Research Fellowship (SRF).

Prospects for Astronomy Careers:

After having done a Courses in Astronomy, one can find placement as a Research Scientist with several research institutes and big Government organizations like the Indian Space Research Organization (DRDO).

One can also join non - profit organizations like the Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA) which involves itself in telescope making, organizing observation sessions for the public and popularization of Astronomy.

As a beginner, one would be inducted as a fellow researcher into an existing team already working on an Astronomy project. The prospects of traveling to far distant lands are also open as international seminars and conventions are held regularly in different countries.

Career in Astronomy - Remuneration:

During the research work, one will receive a monthly stipend of Rs.8, 000 as Junior Researcher while Rs.9, 000 is what one is expected to get as a Senior Researcher. In addition, one will be entitled to an annual book grant.

Hostel accommodation house rent allowance and medical and travel allowances are other benefits available to the researches. One will also get support to participate in national and international seminars and conferences.

After one has completed the research work, employment opportunities with different institutions increase. Various government bodies and institutes also employ astronomers in different grades of scientists. As scientists they are given high salaries with other perks and allowances.

Various would bodies and research institutes also employ astronomers and offer large sums remuneration.

Some branches of Astronomy Courses:

Astrochemistry: A branch of astronomy and chemistry dealing with the chemical composition and evolution of the universe and its parts.

Astrogeology: The science dealing with the structure and composition of planets and other bodies in the solar system.

Astrometeorology: The study of the theoretical effects of astronomical bodies and forces on the earth's atmosphere.

Astrometry: The branch of astronomy that deals with the measurement of the positions and motions of the celestial bodies.

Astrobiology: The study of life beyond the earth's atmosphere as on the planets.

Astrophysics: The branch of astronomy that deals with the physical properties of celestial bodies and with the interaction between matter and radiation in the interior of celestial bodies and in interstellar space.

Astronomy Colleges and Universities in India

Raman Research Institute,
C.V. Raman Avenue,
Bangalore - 560080, Karnataka,
Phone: 080 23610122,
Fax: 080 23610492,
Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore - 560012,
Phone: 080 - 22932001,
Fax: 080 - 23600683,
Indian Institute of Astrophysics,
II Block, Koramangala,
Bangalore - 560034, Karnataka,
Phone: 080 - 25530672,
Fax: 080 - 25534043,
Physical Research Laboratory,
Ahmedabad - 380009,
Phone: 079 - 26314000,
Fax: 079 - 26314900,
Tata institute of Fundamental research,
Homi bhabha road,
Mumbai - 400005, Maharastra,
Phone: 022 - 22782000,
Fax: 022 - 22804610, 22804611,
Radio Astronomy Center,
P.B. No 8,
Ootacamund - 643001,
Tamil Nadu,
Phone: 0423 - 242032,
Fax: 0423 - 242588,
Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics,
Punjabi University,
Osmania University,
Hyderabad - 500007,
Andra Pradesh,
Mahatma Gandhi University,
Kottayam - 686041,
Swami Ramanand Teerth University,
National Center For Radio Astrophysics,
Madurai Kamaraj University,
Tamil Nadu,
Phone: 2458421, 2459185.


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