Astronomers study planets and the sun in our own solar system, as well as other stars, solar systems, galaxies, and the visible universe. They want to learn how the universe works and how our own star, the sun, and our solar system of planets were created as well as what will happen to them as they age. The typical course of study includes a lot of physics, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics.
Most astronomers concentrate on a particular question or area of astronomy: for example, planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies. Observational astronomers design and carry out observing programs with a telescope or spacecraft to answer a question or test the predictions of theories. Theorist work with complex computer models of a star’s interior, for example, to understand the physical processes responsible for the star’s appearance.
Astronomers no longer look through an eye-piece on the telescopes but instead use sophisticated digital cameras attached to a telescope, computers to gather and analyze research data. The actual time spent at a telescope collecting data for analysis is only the beginning. Most of their time is spent in an office analyzing the data, creating computer programs that allow them to more efficiently search through the data, writing research papers, and completing other administrative tasks like attending meetings. There are many variables that shape an Astronomer’s time, so many work flexible hours the meet their unique job environments.