Astrophysicists are special types of astronomers that deal with determining and studying the physical properties of celestial objects. An astrophysicist will generally have deep, extensive knowledge of both theoretic and applied physics, experience in astronomy and possibly formal education in the field. Astrophysicists tend to explore the properties of some purely theoretical phenomenon, such as black holes and antimatter, which have been only touched on the surface by modern day physics. An astrophysicist’s job involves lots of research and sifting through large amounts of data, as well as organizing and arranging a set of the most plausible theories for a given object.
An astrophysicist will require similar education to an astronomer, usually a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in physics or astronomy. Theoretical physics are a benefit for those looking for employment in the area, as well as the ability to work with high-tech computers and operate complex pieces of machinery like industrial telescopes and telescope arrays. An astrophysicist also needs strong analytical skills, in order to fully understand the data they’re dealing with and properly base their theories.
Astrophysicists earn slightly lower than astronomers annually, going around $60,000 as a median figure. Astrophysicists involved in more research tend to earn higher, though that stems from the fact that they’re not bound to standard 40-hour working weeks, instead spending a lot more time in their laboratories working on their research subjects. An astrophysicist in the research field can easily earn over $100,000 annually.