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Contrary to popular belief, most astronomers do not spend most of their time at telescopes.An astronomer will often record enough data in a week's observations at a telescope to be kept busy back at their home institution for much of the year.
Most of the work is done using computer analysis, so computer skills are very important, and astronomy graduates gain a wide range of computer skills.
Here we must be careful not give a false idea of the number of positions available in astronomical research.
This webpage was produced by the Astronomical Society of Australia in response to many enquiries from those who share our interest in astronomy.
The Society has no permanent headquarters, such as an observatory, but brings together professional scientists and students working in astronomy or a closely related subject, plus astronomy educators and some amateur astronomers who are involved in research projects.
After finishing your initial training and obtaining your research (Ph D) degree, it is a important to gain some experience working as a research fellow at one or more local or overseas universities or observatories.
Indeed, most astronomers find it necessary to take a succession of fellowships, each lasting two or three years and often in different countries.
The Society represents these people, arranges scientific conferences, and publishes research papers.
In general, keen amateur astronomers are best catered for by local amateur astronomy groups as mentioned in the section 'Information and Courses in Astronomy'.
This becomes more important in the honours year of a degree course, when an astronomy or mathematics department can supervise some research project that can count for a large fraction of the marks for the year.
Another advantage is that your ability and interests will be known to the astronomers at your university, who will support you when you apply to commence the next stage of your career as a post graduate student undertaking an MSc or Ph D degree.