Astrophysicists

Overview

Introduction

Astrophysics is a specialty that combines two fields of science: astronomy and physics. Astrophysicists use the principles of physics to study the solar system, stars, galaxies, and the universe. How did the universe begin? How is the universe changing? These are the types of questions astrophysicists try to answer through research and experimentation. Physicists may also be concerned with such issues, but they use physics to study broader areas such as gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear interactions. There are approximately 19,...

Quick Facts


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Median Salary

$105,680

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Employment Prospects

Fair

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Minimum Education Level

Master's Degree
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Experience

Internship
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Skills

Computer
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Personality Traits

Curious
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Earnings

Salaries for astrophysicists tend to parallel those listed for astronomers and physicists because of their job similarities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary of astronomers was $105,680 in May 2018. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $57,490, and the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $165,770. Physicists earned salaries that ranged from less th...

Work Environment

Astrophysicists generally work regular hours in laboratories, observatories, or classrooms. However, some research may require them to work extended or irregular hours. A research deadline or a celestial event such as a meteor shower or asteroid may require extra hours or overnight observation. Some travel may be required, such as to an observatory with a needed piece of equipment or to a confe...

Outlook

The outlook for astrophysics, because it is so closely related to astronomy and physics, mirrors the outlook for those fields. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment in these fields will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2028. The need for scientists, especially those employed by the government, is affected by factors outside the field, such as budgetary cu...