Astronomy is the science dealing with all the celestial bodies in the universe. It is the study of the movement, nature and constitution of heavenly bodies. It is also the study of the laws which direct them, as also the effects, which they produce upon one another. It seeks to crack the past history of heavenly bodies and their possible future development.Though the use of modern technology and new gadgets has made Astronomy a specialized branch of study, it is, in fact, a very old science. With the development of science and technology, man began to use sophisticated technological gadgets for the purpose. India has produced many best brains like Aryabhatta and Bhaskara in this field.
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.
Branches of Astronomy
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
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 is offered by various institutes and universities. To pursue a career in Instrumentation/Experimental Astronomy, one can do 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. A professional astronomer also takes courses in microelectronics & instrumentation. One can also contact the Board of Graduate Studies at IIA firstname.lastname@example.org.
After completion of a course 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) . Employment opportunities exist in organizations such as the TIFR (Government of India’s National Centre for Nuclear Science and Mathematics), the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Pune and Ooty, the IIS, Bangalore, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, UP State Observatory at Nainital, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Bangalore, Astronomical Society of India, Udaipur Solar Observatory, and the CSIR. Some researchers also go on to work at leading observatories and institutes in the USA.
One can also join 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 shores are also open as international seminars and conventions are held regularly in different countries.
While during the research work, one generally receives a monthly stipend of Rs.8, 000 as Junior Researcher while Rs.9,000 is what one is expected to receive as a Senior Researcher. Moreover, 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 where they are offered high salaries with other perks and allowances too.