digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as black holes, moons, planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies, as well as Gamma-ray bursts and cosmic microwave background radiation. A related but distinct subject, cosmology, is concerned with studying the universe as a whole. An astronomer researches the world beyond earth.

Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using physical laws. Today, that distinction has mostly disappeared and the terms "astronomer" and "astrophysicist" are interchangeable. Professional astronomers are highly educated individuals who typically have a PhD in physics or astronomy and are employed by research institutions or universities.[1] They spend the majority of their time working on research, although they quite often have other duties such as teaching, building instruments, or aiding in the operation of an observatory. The number of professional astronomers in the United States is actually quite small. The American Astronomical Society, which is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, has approximately 7,700 members. This number includes scientists from other fields such as physics, geology, and engineering, whose research interests are closely related to astronomy.[2] The International Astronomical Union comprises almost 10,145 members from 70 different countries who are involved in astronomical research at the PhD level and beyond.[3]

While there is a relatively low number of professional astronomers,[citation needed] the field is popular among amateurs. Most cities have amateur astronomy clubs that meet on a regular basis and often host star parties. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is the largest general astronomical society in the world, comprising both professional and amateur astronomers as well as educators from 70 different nations.[4] Like any hobby, most people who think of themselves as amateur astronomers may devote a few hours a month to stargazing and reading the latest developments in research. However, amateurs span the range from so-called "armchair astronomers" to the very ambitious, who own science-grade telescopes and instruments with which they are able to make their own discoveries and assist professional astronomers in research.

Modern astronomers[edit]

Galileo is often referred to as the Father of Modern Astronomy.

Contrary to the classical image of an old astronomer peering through a telescope through the dark hours of the night, it is far more common to use a charge-coupled device camera to record a long, deep exposure, allowing a more sensitive image to be created because the light is added over time. Before CCDs, photographic plates were a common method of observation. Modern astronomers spend relatively little time at telescopes - most spend a few weeks per year. Analysis of observed phenomena or make predictions for observational astronomers.

Astronomers who serve as faculty spend much of their time teaching undergraduate and graduate classes. Most universities also have outreach programs including public telescope time and sometimes planetariums as a public service to encourage interest in the field.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an Astronomer". NOAO. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "American Astronomical Society Home". AAS. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "About IAU". IAU. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "About Us". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Archived from the original on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomer — Please support Wikipedia.
A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
60681 videos foundNext > 

24 Hours In The Life Of An Astronomer

http://www.facebook.com/ScienceReason ... ESOcast 4: 24 hours in the life of an ESO astronomer. Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be an astronom...

How to Become an Astronomer

Heidi Hammel says astronomers should be well-rounded especially in math, but no one looks for straight A's. Topic: How to Become an Astronomer Heidi Hammel: ...

Astronomer (Spitzer Science Center)

WHAT YOU DO: An astronomer collects data about planets, stars, and galaxies and presents it to other astronomers, then analyzes the astronomical data to make...

Astronomy Career Overview

http://www.citytowninfo.com/employment/astronomers Interested in becoming an astronomer? Watch this video to see what a career as an astronomer is really lik...

Bill Maher interview with Vatican Astronomer

Bill Maher has an interesting interview with a rather intelligent Vatican astronomer who points out some interesting facts.

What's Between the Stars? (Ask an Astronomer)

Dr. Michelle Thaller explains how there can be an interstellar medium in a vacuum.

24 Hours In The Life Of An Astronomer

ESOcast 4: 24 hours in the life of an ESO astronomer. Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be an astronomer? In this fourth episode of the ESOc...

Meet an Astronomer

Student interview with Dr. Letisha McLaughlin, an astronomer at NC State.

"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson reads Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer." DARK UNIVERSE, the new...

The April 15, 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse by Astronomer Michelle Thaller [HD]

The public will have the opportunity to view and learn more about the April 15, 2014 total lunar eclipse on NASA Television, the agency's website and social ...

60681 videos foundNext > 

8236 news items


CBS Local
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:07:21 -0700

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Much is being made of what's being called “the Blood Moon,” tonight's total lunar eclipse. A local astronomer explains what the fuss is all about. “The idea of identifying this one as a blood red moon and setting it apart as being ...
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:27:30 -0700

Dean Regas, an Outreach Astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory, loaded up the telescope, hopped in his car and headed west to see the heavenly show from Illinois. The site was ideal for the lunar eclipse viewing. Regas says even though most local ...
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:38:06 -0700

A three page, single-spaced list produced with a manual typewriter lists the astronomical career of Minnesota native Edward A. Halbach. The list includes accomplishments and awards and chronicles the milestones of a passion that lasted from 1931 to ...


Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:15:00 -0700

... Shedding A New Moon; Astronomer Says He Might Be Watching 'An Act Of Birth'. By Ben Wolford on April 15, 2014 4:15 PM EDT. Saturn's rings may be peeling off and forming a new moon, one astronomer says. (Photo: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute).
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:41:15 -0700

As NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller explains in the video, the sunlight that normally produces the bright reflection seen coming from the moon will be blocked tonight by the Earth itself. Thaller even reveals that the blood moon effect and color is ...


Fri, 11 Apr 2014 07:25:36 -0700

The Great Orion Nebula glows in vivid shades of pink and purple in this stunning photo taken by an avid night sky photographer , who captured the image using portable photo gear for the first time. Veteran astrophotographer Miguel Claro took the photo ...

Science World Report

The Flint Journal
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:40:36 -0700

But you have to be willing to get up very early or stay up late to see it. A total lunar eclipse will be visible from North America, meaning the earth is directly between the sun and the moon. "At 3:06 a.m. EDT, the eclipse will reach totality, but ...
Huffington Post
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 06:41:15 -0700

University of Texas astronomer Dr. Stefano Meschiari found that out when he created "Super Planet Crash." Yes, the online game is addictive -- one player commented it's "a great little time waster." Yet the game, which lets you place planets around a ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Astronomer

You can talk about Astronomer with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!