In this essay, I will be talking about the career I would like to pursue and how I am going to pursue it. In the future I choose to do Astro-Microbiology or Exo- Microbiology because I have always wanted to know what is beyond the earth and and if there is any life on the other planets around us. I also enjoy researching the different bacterii and viruses found on other planets which can be used to find whether or not we can live on that certain planet as well as the existence of aliens. Astro Microbiology or Exo Microbiology is the study of microorganisms in space or under space conditions. To pursue my future job, I would need to major in Astrobiology, Microbiology as well as Astronomy. One major field that I will need to master is Astronomy. Astronomy is the study of celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole. Astronomy is important because it helps to satisfy the curiosity of the world we live in and it helps to answer the “unanswerable questions” that we have in life.
An Astronomer is a scientist that observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems (BLS, 2019). There are different types of astronomers and the jobs that they do. For example, an observational astronomer designs and carries out observing programs with a telescope or spacecraft to answer a questions or test the predictions of theories. Over time the world of astronomy have evolved as far as the use of technology. In earlier years, astronomers used to make up theories about how the earth and the planets around it work, develop as well as evolve but in recent years we developed technology such as satellites, telescopes, human spacecrafts, etc. that helps us further our understanding of the galaxy and everything around us. One thing that has been recently brought up in a astronomy is the questioning of life beyond the earth, this is where Astro microbiology comes in. As stated before Astro microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms in outer space (News Medical Life Science, n.d.). Scientists use bacteria of different types and compare them to the ones we have on earth to verify if there could possibly be life on other planets or if another planet can sustain life for future years.
To become an astronomer, you will need to take Math, Science, and computing during high school to get a basic understanding of what is needed to start your career. Astronomers usually have a Ph.D. in either Astronomy, Physics, Astro physic, or Mathematics (BLS, 2019). If you are a graduate student, M then you would need to concentrate more on subfields such as condensed matter physics or cosmology. Calculus, linear algebra, and statistics are additionally taken by students with a Ph.D. When Astronomers work, they often develop specialized computer programs to model, analyze, and gather data. In order to do this, one needs to take classes in Computer science. While doing a undergraduate curriculum one can take internships to get more experience in the field of astronomy. The American Astronomical Society has a directory of internships for astronomy students (BLS, 2019).
In 2018, the recorded number of astronomer jobs was 2,400 which was 41%, these employers were either from Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools; states, local, and private (BLS, 2019). The two largest employers in the federal government for astronomers are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and agencies within the U.S. Department of Defense. The scientific research-and-development industry includes both private and federally funded national laboratories, such as the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and the Goddard Institute in Maryland (BLS, 2019).
Astronomers have to deal with a series of ethical dilemmas that needs to be resolved correctly for the integrity of astronomy. Many of these issues arise during observations, teachings, researching, or when one is leading a project or mission. (Ethics Education Library, 1920). Astronomers need to have the right tools for the job that they are assigned to. They also need to have know the right amount measurements for the everything that is involved in their work. For example, in 1991, when the Hubble Space Telescope was launched, astronomers received the first picture of a galaxy but it was very blurry. After reviewing the telescope, they then realized that the main mirror was slightly flattened near it’s edge. This meant that the lens could not focus light precisely at one point which reduces the overall image quality and leaving the $4 billion telescope almost useless (The Brain Banks North West, 2016). They also need to know how to solve complex problems that requires math, being able to work together with a team and also knowledge about specific science related software programs. (BLS,2019).
In the field of astronomy, the technology is advancing every day from telescopes to satellites and many more. The main technology used by astronomer include telescopes, spectrographs, cameras, radio dishes and computers. These technologies provide astronomers with useful information that can be used to solve astronomical matters and unanswered questions about the universe. New technology that can be used in future astronomical research include the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which can carry a suite of of infrared cameras as well as other astronomical instruments.
Astronomers can work at different places based on what they are tasked to do. For example, some research astronomers may choose to work at Colleges and Universities rather than in a lab. Some Astronomers work for the federal government or government supported labs such as NASA and NRL (Environmental Science, n.d.). Astronomers in these work environments conduct research for their employers rather than for any personal reasons. Other Astronomers may choose to work in the private industry such as the aerospace field. Those in this environment are highly skilled in instrumentation, remote sensing, spectral observations, and computer applications to unusual problems (AAS, n.d.).
- American Astronomical Society. About a Career in Astronomy. Retrieved from the American Astronomical Society website: https://aas.org/careers/career-in-astronomy
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019, September 4). Physicists and Astronomers. Retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/physicists-and-astronomers.htm#tab-5
- Environmental Science. What is an Astronomer. Retrieved from the Environmental Science website: https://www.environmentalscience.org/career/astronomer
- Kalas, and Paul. (1920, January 1). Ethics for Astronomers. Retrieved from the Ethics Educational Library website: http://ethics.iit.edu/eelibrary/biblio/ethics-astronomers
- Ruth, Wade, and Brain Banks North West. (2018, October 8). Ten Top Astronomy Fails. Retrieved from the Brain Banks North West website: https://thebrainbank.scienceblog.com/2016/12/12/top-ten-astronomy-fails/
- Yokoyama, M. (2018, October 8). What is Astro Microbiology. Retrieved from the News Medical Life Science website: https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/What-is-Astro-Microbiology.aspx