The word ASTRONOMY comes from the Greek word ‘astronomia’ which basically means ‘the law of the stars’. It’s one of the oldest sciences.
Have you ever looked up at the sky at night and been blown away from the sheer beauty of the stars? Have you ever wondered what they are made of or how they got there? Have you ever felt the sun on your face and wondered how the sun and the universe works?
If you enjoy sci-fi movies like Star Wars and interested in the entire universe beyond the earth, then this career path might be a good choice for you.
Astronomers study the origin and evolution of the entire universe including solar systems, suns, moons, asteroids, comets and millions and billions of stars and other galaxies etc … and everything in between. Most Astronomers specialise in a particular field of astronomy such as: planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies etc.
- developing specialised satellite telescopes and equipment
- observing and researching the cosmos using these devices
- operating large space-based or ground-based telescopes
- analysing images taken
- taking detailed measurements
- capturing data on specialised computers
- interpreting large quantities of data, together with mathematics, to develop theories to explain our universe
- predicting properties and behaviour of celestial objects
- writing scientific papers and reports
- developing programs to presented to the public
- attending conferences
ARE YOU …
- interested in the stars and the universe?
- interested in the sciences?
- a researcher?
- mathematically orientated?
- self motivated?
- a problem solver?
One first has to study an undergraduate degree before specialising in a post-graduate degree in Astronomy.
Typical undergraduate degree:
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Physics, Mathematics or Engineering, or a specific undergraduate astronomy degree.
Recommended subjects at university: Pure and Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Statistics, Electronics and Chemistry
Minimum requirements: Matric exemption
Compulsory subjects: Physical Science and Mathematics on the higher grade.
Recommended subjects: Computer Science and Additional Mathematics
This is a rough guide as many universities have their own requirements. Please check with your university of choice for theirs.
These universities offer undergraduate degrees:
- RHODES UNIVERSITY:
- UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN:
- UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE:
- UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG:
Offers degrees in science and mathematics
- UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL:
Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit
- UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA:
- UNIVERSITY OF THE WESTERN CAPE:
For post graduate degrees:
National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) offers Honours and Masters Programmes in astronomy / astrophysics and space science.
Summer school at SAAO