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what do i need to know to study astronomy

i love the stars. and reading about space facts and theories. #career #career-counseling #astronomy #high school


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Chris’s Answer

Hi Luyanda,

I would also recommend building up a basic knowledge of data analysis, since much of astronomy is done through the analysis of data from various sorts of telescopes.

Jake VanderPlas is an astronomer who is also well known for his use of Python for data analysis and machine learning. At his homepage, you can find many interesting links and talks about both Python and astronomy.
http://vanderplas.com/speaking.html

The knowledge you gain from doing data analysis in Python would be broadly applicable to many fields as well (number crunching, grouping, sorting, filtering), etc. And if you ever decided to look for jobs related to data science or machine learning - you'd already have some great skills in that area!!

Depending on your age, I'd also start reading some astronomy books - don't wait till you're in school! Podcasts can be a great passive learning tools as well. I listen to Sean Carrol and Neil deGrasse Tyson, but I'm sure there are many other great options out there as well.

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Ugur’s Answer

Hi Luyanda:

If you wish to study astronomy, you have several options available to you. You can directly enroll in an astronomy undergraduate program and study the relevant subjects there including physics, calculus, space science, optical astronomy, radio astronomy, evolution of stars, evolution of the universe etc (each program may have sight differences in course content) and can become an astronomer. Since you seem to be in South Africa, I see that there are several astronomy programs there including University of South Africa and University of Cape Town.

However, if entry into an astronomy program is problematic for you, then you can also enroll in a physics undergraduate program. Basically astronomy is founded on mathematics and physics and thus studying physics and perhaps doing your undergraduate thesis on a relevant topic of astronomy can make sense. Then you can enroll in an Astronomy Master's program to continue your studies.

However, as a Space Scientist and an Aerospace Engineer, I recommend that you brush up your fundamental physics and mathematics knowledge before admission. You can take a look at some sample space science and astronomy courses at my aerospace lectures website to get an idea: https://aerospacelectures.com/space-sciences/

I hope this helps. Regards
Dr. Ugur GUVEN
https://aerospacelectures.com/space-sciences/


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