AS­TRONOMER Star struck


Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page -

CLOCK­WORK As­tronomers nor­mally spend 4-5 nights a month at the tele­scope sights tak­ing ob­ser­va­tions. Here is an an av­er­age day (ac­tu­ally night) of an as­tronomer at work: 5pm: Leave for Imag­ine a ca­reer in which you get to wit­ness the birth of the uni­verse, or the death of a star! An as­tronomer is a sci­en­tist who stud­ies ce­les­tial bod­ies such as moons, plan­ets, stars, ne­bu­lae, and gal­ax­ies; the physics, chem­istry, and evo­lu­tion of such ob­jects; and phe­nom­ena that orig­i­nate out­side the at­mos­phere of earth (such as su­per­nova ex­plo­sions, gamma ray bursts, and cos­mic back­ground ra­di­a­tion). This pro­fes­sion is ba­si­cally di­vided into two parts — one deals with the the­o­ret­i­cal as­pects (ob­ser­va­tional as­tron­omy) and the other with its prac­ti­cal as­pects. Ob­ser­va­tional as­tronomers fo­cus on di­rect study of stars, plan­ets, gal­ax­ies, and so­phis­ti­cated in­stru­ments at­tached to mod­ern tele­scopes. The­o­ret­i­cal as­tronomers or as­tro­physi­cists an­a­lyse how th­ese sys­tems may have formed and evolved. There is a great scope for qual­i­fied as­tronomers in var­i­ous pub­lic and pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion, space physics lab­o­ra­to­ries etc. They also get em­ployed at re­search in­sti­tu­tions or univer­si­ties ob­ser­va­tory 6pm: Start set­ting up the in­stru­ments and tele­scope 7pm: Start record­ing ob­ser­va­tions with ad­vanced cam­eras and in­stru­ments 6am: Take data backup, done for the day 7am: Take break­fast and go to bed 2pm: Wake up and have lunch 3pm: Check the data from the pre­vi­ous night, pre­pare for the night ahead

THE PAY­OFF An as­tronomer in­volved in re­search work or teach­ing as an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at a re­puted col­lege or univer­sity can earn R45,000 per month at the en­try level. The re­mu­ner­a­tion can fur­ther in­crease with ex­pe­ri­ence and se­nior­ity SKILLS/TRAITS Ad­vanced knowl­edge of physics and ap­plied math­e­mat­ics

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