Linn County Leader - Brookfield, MO
To Study the Stars...
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April 26, 2013 11:31 a.m.

The study of stars and planets has always intrigued me. I do most of my thinking and pondering when sitting outside. What is up there? Who is out there? And how can I learn more? These questions swarm around in my head constantly. To find answers to these questions, I need to research the job of an astronomer and what is needed to become this desired profession. Not only am I interested in the astronomer, but the astronomer who is able to write the information down for all to read. Therefore a second occupation should be researched, that of an author or writer.<>
The astronomer/writer would have various duties throughout their day. The astronomer would observe the skies through recording devices unlike the astronomers of old. The picture of astronomers gazing through a telescope is unfortunately outdated. They at present spend very little time observing and most of their time is spent analyzing their observations. After hours and hours of collecting data they are ready to put the information on paper. Writing this information, either for a scientific magazine or a science textbook is grueling and time consuming work.<>
In both occupations, the astronomer and the writer, their work spaces are quiet and secluded. The astronomer would spend the majority of his time in a lab pouring over film and analyzing and hypothesizing. The writer would obviously need a work space that was quiet and conducive to quick and fast production, especially if the writer was trying to meet deadlines. Both of these work environments suit my personality. Crowded places make it hard for me to concentrate, let alone write something worth reading.<>
There are many requirements to be either an astronomer or a science writer; however, interestingly enough, there are some overlaps. According to science careers on science buddies.org, both require imagination, creativity, and the ability to see the abstract. even their high school requirements are the same. Both areas should take classes in chemistry, biology, physics, algebra, geometry, and calculus. The astronomer needs these subjects to understand his job. The writer needs these subjects in order to write about astronomy successfully. A writer, of course would need to also take English courses to learn the art of communicating through the written word.<>
To be a successful astronomer, one would need not only a bachelorís degree but a masters and a PhD. The writer need only have a BS degree to be a science writer; however, I am certain the more classes one could take beyond that degree, the better. Both degrees will take some planning and saving. The average cost of attending a college to obtain a BS degree is 25,000; however, to obtain a degree in astronomy the schoolís tuition may be as high as 36,000. To continue on with a masters one would need another 27,000. To obtain a PhD one could need anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 depending where he or she attends. Needless to say scholarships and financial assistance is necessary.<>

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