Is there life on other planets? What are black holes made of? When and above all how did the universe come about? Astronomy deals with these and many other questions. It is one of the oldest sciences and was already practiced by the ancient Egyptians and the Aztecs. Copernicus, Galileo and Einstein were fascinated by her and turned the world of their contemporaries upside down with their findings.
Astronomers try to fathom and understand the structure and processes in the universe with the means of natural science .
Space exploration: an overview
The research of both our stand planetary and solar system as well as the so-called interstellar matter and the space as a whole . In the past, astronomers only had an optical telescope for their observations. Today’s researchers, on the other hand, have highly developed devices that can be used to measure and evaluate electromagnetic signals or gamma radiation.
Probably the most important part of the field of astronomy, the so-called astrophysics . It deals with the physical research of astronomical relationships . This area is so dominant that the term astrophysics is sometimes used synonymously with the term astronomy. Further sub-areas and subjects within the field of astronomy include planetology , cosmology and astrometry .
The subject of astronomy in Germany
Amazingly, universities and technical colleges in Germany currently do not offer astronomy as an independent bachelor’s or master’s degree . If you want to become an astronomer, you usually have to begin a general bachelor’s degree in physics . It is only possible to focus on the areas of astronomy or astrophysics during the master’s degree or as part of a doctorate.
A strong interest in physics and mathematics as well as scientific and technical issues is therefore an absolute prerequisite for aspiring astronomers. In the first semesters in particular, the focus is on solid basic training in relevant physics topics such as
- Quantum mechanics
- Optics and
- Particle physics.
The subject of astronomy abroad
Unlike in Germany, the subject of astronomy is not exclusively offered as a focus in physics abroad. In many cases, there are already independent courses in the subjects of astronomy and astrophysics in the Bachelor ‘s and Master’ s area .
These courses also usually have a high proportion of physics and mathematics. However, they are clearly geared towards a scientific or practical activity in astronomy from the start . Often, students can already actively participate in research projects in the department during their bachelor’s degree and set their own priorities.
Advantages of studying abroad
The advantages here are obvious: In Germany, you can only focus on astronomy or astrophysics during your master’s degree. Abroad, on the other hand, you have the opportunity to specialize much earlier and complete a full degree in astronomy. There are also many advantages for those who study in Germany when they spend a semester or two abroad .
Studying abroad literally opens up new perspectives and a different view of the starry sky. It is possible to take part in excursions to research stations and to work with other technical devices. Some of the research centers are located in extraordinary places like Antarctica.
The focus of research is country-specific. In western Australia, for example, there is a chance for German students to get to know the subject of radio astronomy better. This is about the investigation of astronomical objects using the radio waves they emit. In fact, one of the world’s most important research centers in this field is located in Western Australia.
At some universities abroad it is also possible to combine astronomy with another subject, such as computer science or engineering . In this way, students acquire a double degree , which is rather unusual in Germany.
Traditionally, the majority of German astronomers and astrophysicists work in university teaching and research or at university observatories .
Another classic field of activity for astronomers is the work at non-university research centers and planetariums . In addition to research, the main focus of activity is the preparation and communication of astronomical knowledge.
For some time now, astronomers have also been increasingly active in completely different areas. They work in engineering and IT companies as experts in their field in the development of astronomical equipment or computer programs . Companies in the consulting sector also value astronomers because of their excellent basic training and their analytical skills.
According to Top-Mba-Universities, the labor market for astronomers is global, since national borders are in principle irrelevant in astronomy. For this reason, astronomers have numerous opportunities to work internationally, especially in teaching and research, but also in the private sector .
Study Abroad in Astronomy: Professional Benefits
Research in the field of astronomy takes place on an international level. Astrophysicists exchange ideas with colleagues from abroad and the research teams are often international . The few large research centers are spread all over the world. Many astrophysicists therefore spend a large part of their professional careers in another country.
You should prepare for these requirements at an early stage. Therefore, it makes sense to take one or more semesters abroad during your studies or even to complete the entire course abroad. On the other side of the planet, a completely different view of the starry sky opens up to you. You will expand and perfect your foreign language skills and acquire important intercultural skills . You also have the opportunity to sharpen your scientific profile and make lots of contacts on the side. You can certainly use them for your future international career.