Astrophysics Career Information
What an Astrophysics does
Many people feel that astronomy is different from astronomy. However, according to Prof.Jayant Murthy of Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangaluru, astronomy and astrophysics are at present used interchangeably although both these terms were considered different from each other earlier.
Astrophysics is a combination of various disciplines like, physics, mechanical engineering, material science, chemistry, biology, medicine, psychology, computer science and other fields of scientific knowledge. Astronomy is the study of heavenly objects like the stars, planets, comets, and galaxies, and other objects that exist beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
Different Branches in astrophysics are-
Astrochemistry – It is the combination of astronomy and chemistry. It deals with the chemical composition and evolution of the universe and its various parts. It also deals with chemical elements found in outer space and their relations.
Astrogeology- It studies the structure and composition of all solid materials in the outer space, including planets, stars, satellites, comets, asteroids and meteorites.
Astromestrology – It deals with the theoretical effects of heavenly objects and forces on the earth’s atmosphere.
Astrometry – It deals with the accurate measurement of the positions and motions of the celestial bodies. Such precise measurement and the information obtained from the same are very important in research related to the outer space.
Astrobiology is the study of the possibilities of life beyond the earth’s atmosphere and on other planets. It is a combination of astronomy, geology and biology.
Optical astronomy and Radio astronomy deal with optical and radio bands respectively.
Physics throws light on the evolution of the universe and mathematical calculations help in forecasting its development. Besides, the present IT revolution acts as a catalyst in space exploration and related technology.
You can become a research scientist in several research institutes and government organizations like the ISRO ( Indian Space Research Organization) If you prefer teaching, you can join as a faculty in various universities. Those who have experience in making sophisticated astronomical instruments coupled with sound knowledge of computer programming and data handling can join various relevant industries.
When a research scientist completes his or her research, there are chances for getting job opportunities in various institutes. Many government organizations recruit scientists who have done their research studies in astrophysics. They are given good salaries with many various incentives.
Abilities & Traits Required
Generally, when youngsters hear the term ‘space research’, it calls to their mind only terms like National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and astronaut. However, they usually sideline proper research studies on space. Therefore, apart from being attracted to heavenly bodies, students need to have an inclination towards research. If you want to opt for astrophysics, you need to have a good aptitude, a scientific bent of mind and the zeal to explore.
You need to have a sound knowledge of physics, mathematics and engineering techniques in general. Students generally require a BE or B.Sc degree in physics / electronics, etc.
If you want to opt for theoretical astronomy, you can pursue a bachelor’s in Science in physics and / or mathematics. If it is experimental astronomy that you are interested in, you can opt for a Bachelor’s in Engineering in electrical / electronics / electrical communication, after ten plus two.
Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) is the selection test for those who want to pursue a PhD in physics, including theoretical and observational astronomy, astrophysics, atmospheric and space science and other related subjects.
If you hold a postgraduate degree in physics or master’s in technology in engineering or a bachelor ‘s degree in engineering, you are eligible to appear for JEST. The question paper consists of multiple-choice objective questions that cover general areas in the field of physics. The test will check your analytical skills. You will receive research fellowship from the respective institutions based on your scores in JEST.
As a Junior Research Scientist, you can expect a monthly stipend of Rs.15000. You can expect an increment of Rs 3000 when you become a Senior Research Scientist. Besides, you will get other benefits like annual book grant.