You’re all too familiar with the image of a person looking through a telescope, and you think that’s what astronomers are supposed to do. No, the days when astronomers had to stay up all night to adjust giant telescopes for observations are long gone.
If so, what are modern astronomers doing?
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These are management jobs in the organization where they work, from analyzing data to testing numerical models or scientific theories, and much more. However, astronomers now spend most of their time work in front of a computer screen.Proficiency in information technology, especially programming, is an extremely important requirement for an astronomer today.
Astronomers work at the Astronomy and Astrophysics Laboratory, which is part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Photo: naturalsciences.org
PARTICIPATION AND WORKSHOPS
If you are a travel enthusiast, astronomy is a career for you. Astronomers often have to travel to many conferences held around the world. For example, each year many meetings of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the International Astronomical Commission (IAU) are held in different locations. It is common for a professional astronomer to attend at least a few such conferences each year.
An IAU conference. Photo: IAU
The number and duration of missions often depends on the amount of money donated by the unit the astronomer works for. At such meetings, astronomers often present their research to the panel, and it is also a good opportunity to interact with scientists from around the world and learn more about their areas of interest. Most universities with an astronomy major hold regular weekly seminars where scientists from many other universities come to discuss astronomical matters.
Many professional astronomers teach physics and astronomy at universities. The amount of time spent on this job varies from person to person, and for some, teaching will be the primary job of the astronomer.
Astrophysics professor Neil Tyson during a lecture at the University of Iowa. Photo: ow.uiowa.edu
READ AND UPDATE NEWS
Astronomers must spend considerable time reading, learning new topics, or keeping up to date with the latest developments in astronomy. There are various publishing units such as the Astrophysical Journal, where astronomers should keep up to date with the latest research and news. Many astronomers start their day by reading the latest articles published on arXiv, an archive of scientific articles.
Astronomers also spend a lot of time writing articles and research papers, with the goal of showcasing and sharing research projects and results. Therefore, good writing skills are essential as they help astronomers express their ideas clearly and easily to readers.
In addition, they must also write projects to be able to receive funding from various sources for research work, and write observation projects to receive permission to use the data, telescopes and equipment for study. further.
Many famous astronomers often write many books that popularize science and become world bestsellers, usually books by Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku or Neil Tyson.
Some popular space astronomy books today. Photo: Read twice
COMMENTS BY THIEN VAN
Astronomers often travel to different observatories to do research. These stations are located all over the world, from Puerto Rico to Hawaii, Europe, Australia, Chile and even Antarctica. However, most astronomers still work in favor of the theory, if there are sightings, usually very few.
Canada-France-Hawaii Observatory on Mount Maunakea. Photo: aas.org
One more thing. You don’t think observing astronomers will have to stay awake at night looking through the eyepiece to find a target. In fact, today’s massive telescope system is completely computer controlled, observations are automatically logged, and astronomers don’t have to stay up all night waiting for results. They can analyze the data on the computer the next morning.
Translated from curious.astro.cornell.edu