How To Become Involved In Astronomy


People have been interested in observing and learning about the Universe since early times. Today many people enjoy Astronomy as a hobby and some go on to Astronomy as a career. People from many professions are involved in the study of the Universe. Scientists, engineers, computer programmers, educators, astronauts, technicians, office workers, writers, and administrators all make important contributions.


Amateur Astronomy

Astronomy is a field in which anyone can participate and even make useful discoveries! Amateur astronomers, often using only a pair of good binoculars, have discovered numerous comets. By using more powerful telescopes, amateur astronomers have discovered novae and supernovae. Many people build their own telescopes and observatories to study and photograph objects in the universe. Astrophotography has become a very popular and enjoyable hobby. Also, anyone with a computer can now participate in SETI's search for life in the universe. So far about two million people have participated. Below are some links to useful sites for anyone interested in amateur astronomy.


ADC for Amateur Astronomers - lots of good links

NASA's Amateur Astronomy for Kids

Amateur Astronomy Clubs and Organizations (ASP)



Howard McCallon, an engineer here at IPAC, is an astrophotographer shown with an array of his photographic telescopes.
Activities for the Amateur Astronomer

Amateur Astronomer's Notebook

Binocular Astronomy

How To Choose a Telescope (Sky & Telescope)



Professional Astronomy

Professional astronomers choose to study the Universe as a career. They can work at universities, obervatories, planetariums, in industry and for space agencies such as NASA.


Frequently Asked Questions About Being an Astronomer (NOAO)

How To Become An Astronomer (ASA)

A New Universe to Explore: Careers in Astronomy (AAS)

One Path Towards an Astronomy Career (Michael D. Bicay)

Space Scientists Online Team



Working For NASA

Personal Thoughts About Working For NASA

Student Opportunities at NASA

Profiles of Women in NASA

How To Become An Astronaut