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how do I become an astronomer?

I've always loved learning about stars, planets, black holes, gravitational waves, galaxies, any space stuff. but is this a practical career in any way? besides working for NASA, what viable paths are there for a degree in astronomy or astrophysics? is this something i should relegate simply to being a hobby? astronomy astrophysics astronaut astronautics

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Shakeel’s Answer

Astronomy is a very exciting and interesting job, but if you want to become an astronomer, you have to make sure that you get the right qualifications.
Choosing GCSEs and A Levels or Highers

Students getting good results
Astronomy is mainly about the physics of the Universe - the way stars and galaxies and so on actually work. It is quite an unusual science because it deals with lots of extremes - very big things like galaxies and very small things like atoms and sub-atomic particles; very hot things like the middles of stars and very cold things like the spaces between galaxies and so on. So, astronomers need to understand lots of different bits of science - that is what makes it so interesting!

Therefore, it is important to get good qualifications (GCSEs and A-Levels or Highers) in Physics and Mathematics. You may also find that you will need to know quite a lot of Chemistry.

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sumeet’s Answer

You could become an amateur astronomer by buying a good telescope and spending a lot of time looking at the night sky (preferably not in a city). Amateurs sometimes make interesting discoveries (new comets, etc.).

Of course, becoming a professional astronomer requires years of study.