Take pictures of the night sky and its contents for scientific journals.
picture of Astrophotographer

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Astrophotographers do?

Open any of your science textbooks, flip through the pages, and you’re bound to find some dazzling photography of the stars, bright images of nebulas and galaxies that leave you breathless. Astrophotographers are the brilliant minds behind the camera lens, capturing the beauty of the planets that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

If you’re an Astrophotographer, after nights and nights of trying to get the perfect shot, you know that patience, plus maybe a few cups of coffee, is what gets you through the wee hours of the morning. For Astrophotographers, whether you’re photographing a meteor shower or a passing comet, timing is everything. If you accidentally sleep in, or press snooze one too many times on your alarm, you could miss a comet that won’t reappear during your lifetime. The shots you’re composing also need a lot of care and preparation time—exposing the right amount of light is tricky business.

If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of a giant harvest moon with your cell phone and been disappointed to find that it’s no more than a speck on screen, then you understand why you need a hefty lens and a steady hand to shoot stars millions of light years away. Tripods and digital cameras can capture the moon and surrounding stars just fine, but in order to see past our own galaxy, you bring out the big guns.

Observatories have telescopes that can also be used to take photographs of the cosmos. The photos you take with equipment like this will more than likely be used for scientific research and records. If a new world is discovered, you could be the very first person to snap its picture.

Should I be an Astrophotographer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become an Astrophotographer

    Most Astrophotographers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9cddaa&chl=no+college+%2864%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%284%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,64,64
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