Astronomers apply the principles of physics and mathematics to learn more about the universe. They gather data on the characteristics of planets, moons, stars and other objects using telescopes and computer programs. Astronomers usually specialize in certain types of celestial bodies or events, such as black holes.
Typical duties include developing and testing scientific theories, analyzing data and writing research proposals. They also spend time composing scientific papers and presenting their findings to others in the field.
How to Qualify
Where to study
Degree: BSc degree with Physics, Mathematics, Engineering or Chemistry as major subjects, Arts majors are also acceptable. UNISA offers a BSc course in Astronomy with Physics as the second major. A compulsory two-week practical course is conducted during the second and third undergraduate year at the UNISA observatory in Pretoria.
The University of Cape Town offers courses in Astronomy at second- and third-year level for students in the science faculty.
All universities offer one of these degrees
- SA Astronomical Observatory
- Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory