Astronomers are scientists who study the origins, evolution, and characteristics of objects that can be observed in the sky beyond Earth, as well as the overall nature of the universe.
Astronomers try to understand how the Universe began, how it has evolved and will evolve in the future. They study how interstellar dust, gas clouds, planets, stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies came to exist and how they work. They do this by observing the light from these objects through telescopes and other instruments and using physics, mathematics and data science to understand what they are seeing.
Astronomers need to study physics and mathematics at university, typically through a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in physics, astronomy, mathematics or engineering. To get into this degree, you need a Matric exemption with physical science and mathematics on the higher grade. Computer science and additional mathematics are recommended. Other recommended subjects at university include pure and applied mathematics, computer science, statistics and electronics.
In South Africa, you can study astronomy at:
Graduates in astronomy are equipped to conduct research at the cutting edge of astrophysics and space science and have the broad science skills needed in any modern knowledge economy. They would normally find employment at astronomical research facilities (observatories), university departments and government research institutions like the SAAO. Outside of astronomy, graduates would also find work in fields like data science, software development, aerospace, financial services and telecommunication.