International Astronomer’s day just passed and to celebrate it we got an interview with a real-life astronomer about his amazing career!

What is an Astronomer?

An Aѕtrоnоmеr is a ѕсiеntiѕt whо ѕtudies thе Universe. Aѕtrоnоmеrѕ оftеn bесоmе ѕресiаliѕtѕ in their career or job to focus оn specific parts of studying the Universe like gаlаxiеѕ, рlаnеtѕ, thе Sun, or the оrigin аnd еvоlutiоn of thе Univеrѕе аѕ a whоlе.

Varoujan Gorjian is an astronomer who works at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories) in California! Before we get to the interview about Varoujan here are a couple of cool videos of him answering some questions about astronomy:

Before we get to the interview about Varoujan here are a couple of cool videos of him answering some questions about astronomy:

The interview with Varoujan Gorjian, an astronomer:

What is your job title?

I’m a Research Astronomer.

Does your job require special skills/education?

Yes. It takes a lot of studying of astronomy, math, physics, programming and writing.

(In fact, he had to get a lot of special education to become an astronomer. He has a B.S. degree in Astrophysics from California Institute of Technology, an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. in Astronomy & Astrophysics from UCLA.)

 

So what is your favorite thing about your job?   

I get to work with very smart people.

That’s awesome. You must have had some great conversations over the years. Speaking of years, how many years have you been working at your job?      

I’ve been working at my job for over 10 years.

Wow! That’s a long time, do you have a particular place where you work?           

Yes, I work in an office or similar workspace.

That’s pretty common for most adults. Is your job mainly more physical, mental or equally both?             

I’d say it’s more mental.

Well, you do have a Ph.D. So how much do you work on average?

I work full time, so about 40 hours per week.

Wow, that’s a lot of brain work! Do you have any special tools or equipment you use at your job?            

Oh yes.

Most careers do. So what’s your favorite special/job specific equipment to use at your job?

Well, I get to use big telescopes on Earth and robotic telescopes in space.

Wow, that’s so cool. Lots of kids have telescopes. Did you know you wanted to work in this field/job when you were a kid?        

Yes.

That’s amazing. So you must like your job then?

Yes, I love it!

Fantastic! That’s always great when people like their job. So can you quickly tell us a little bit about what you do on a day to day basis?

Mostly I work sitting in front of a computer looking at images that either I have gotten from using a telescope on the ground or that a robotic space telescope has gotten for me. But my day also has meetings with other astronomers or engineers that I am working with to make new space telescopes. I also write to proposals for new astronomy projects and to get money to help me do more astronomy. Finally, I work with high school science teachers to help them understand how science works.

Well, it’s great getting to talk with someone who’s also dedicated to helping kids learn! Thank you so much for taking your time to answer these questions for us and Happy International Astronomers day!

 

What is an Astronomer?

Learn all about what it takes to be an astronomer, what they do and more as we celebrate International Astronomer's day with our Career Feature article and inforgraphic!