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rationalgia2 karma

Was your interest in astronomy or rather astrophotography? I too had an interest in astronomy and started out going to star parties and doing the amateur astronomer thing. For me, the only natural path to follow an interest in astronomy was to go back to school to study astronomy (though I later left the field and worked as a spacecraft controller). What made you choose engineering over astronomy?

rationalgia1 karma

When I was an undergraduate student, I spent three months in New York, three months in the Netherlands, three months in Australia, a week in Hawaii, a week in Puerto Rico, and a few weeks traveling around Europe. The only cost to me was about $2k worth of planet tickets and a Eurrail pass.

rationalgia1 karma

That's probably correct. I was reading recently that the job of astrophysicist is the second hardest to get in the US, with only 30-ish positions available per year, just behind astronaut with only 19. That said, if you're very flexible with where you live, then your chances of a good academic job increase greatly. Most people I went to grad school with have found jobs, though few of them are living in their home country. My husband was lucky enough to get a professorship in his hometown, though it meant I had to give up my career path since there's no space program in this country. Damn the "two body problem".

rationalgia1 karma

Undergraduate research programs. I had to buy my plane tickets to Australia and the Netherlands, but I was paid stipends and provided accommodation while there. The trips to Hawaii and Puerto Rico were fully paid for, since they were both for astronomical observing (at Keck and Arecibo). New York was also for a research program, but since that was a domestic trip my flight was covered as well. The only time I had to couch surf was while I was traveling around Europe for a few weeks after my research program in the Netherlands ended.

Edit: Just to clarify why I paid so little for plane tickets, this was more than 10 years ago.