Glossary term: Astronomer

Description: An astronomer studies the objects that make up the Universe. Astronomers can be professionals or amateurs. Professional astronomers and some amateur astronomers analyze scientific data obtained through telescopes on Earth and in space to answer questions about the composition of objects in the cosmos, their distribution, evolution, and future. With this information astronomers formulate new theories that explain what we see in the Universe from the small to large scales. Some amateur astronomers observe the sky simply to admire the wonder of the Universe. In practice, there is no difference between a professional astronomer and an astrophysicist. In modern astronomy, professional observations are always linked with attempts to model the physical processes producing the phenomena that are being observed, and university-level training in astronomy includes the relevant physics knowledge as a matter of course.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

Related Media

Two astronomers view a lunar eclipse. Between them in the partly cloudy sky, a series of bright circles trace a curved path

The Eclipse Between Us, by Muhammad Rayhan, Indonesia

Caption: Second place in the 2021 IAU OAE Astrophotography Contest, category Total lunar eclipse. Total lunar eclipses belong to the rather spectacular celestial events and can be observed easily with and without a telescope. Here we see the stages of the total lunar eclipse of 31.1.2018 photographed in Indonesia: starting with the entry of the full moon disk into Earth's round umbra, the totality as Blood Moon, and the beginning of the Moon's exit from Earth's umbra until moonset.
Credit: Muhammad Rayhan/IAU OAE

License: CC-BY-4.0 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) icons