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Students outside looking through a telescope.

Department: Astronomy

Program Type: Science, Engineering, and Math

Planning to Transfer? Learn more about the transfer process including the importance of choosing a major and transfer school.


Astronomers explore the origin and nature of the universe, its galaxies, stars, planets, and other matter that it contains. Astronomy is all around us—look up!

Have you ever looked at the night sky and wondered what exists beyond our universe? Earth's dynamic sun is the source of all life on our planet. The motions of astronomical objects determine the day-night cycle, the year's seasons, the tides, the timing of eclipses, and the visibility of comets and meteor showers. Astronomical events have also formed the basis for timekeeping, navigation, and myths in cultures worldwide for thousands of years. Much of astronomy is visual, providing detailed images of planets, galaxies, and other deep-sky objects, and can be appreciated for its aesthetic appeal and scientific depth.

Get additional information, including course listings and class descriptions.

Prepare for Immediate Employment

The job outlook for Astronomy can vary depending on the specific field and level of education. However, in general, the field is small and highly competitive. A Ph.D. is typically required for most research positions, and job opportunities are limited. However, with increasing investment in space exploration and technology, more opportunities in applied fields such as data analysis and instrumentation may exist. The median annual salary wage for Astronomers is $128,160.

Additionally, there are many opportunities for science educators, science communicators, and Astro-tourism. Refer to Career Coach for more information regarding related occupations and compensation.

Program Highlights

Associate Degree

Interested in Astronomy?

Whether you're an amateur stargazer or science superstar, the Department of Astronomy offers courses for students interested in studying the cosmos, students pursuing an associate degree, and anyone fascinated by the universe and this exciting, rapidly developing field of atmospheric science.

STEM Series

Mysteries of the Universe

Rick Jesik, Ph.D., Astronomy, gives an overview of our understanding of the universe.

Asteroids And Comets--The Solar System Wanderers

Ryan McGuire, MS, Astronomy, teaches about the origins and properties of comets and asteroids and what NASA (and the government) can do to prevent Earth from being hit in the future.

Learn more about the Astronomy department at ECC!

Earning an Associate Degree at Elgin Community College can set your career in motion.

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