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What kind of math do astronomers most commonly use? If any..

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cowdude

Guest
I'm curious as to what level of math an astronomer is expected to know, seeing as how I am actually considering a course of study in the field next year once I go off to college.
 
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yevaud

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Expect Integral and Differential Equations (Calculus), and Linear Algebra. Statistics as well. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

Guest
Sounds good, except for the calculus, yuck!<br /><br />thanks for the help
 
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yevaud

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Depending on the specific track, you can minimize the hit. One of my Majors was Planetary and Space Science - the requirements were Calculus I and II, Physics I, II, and III, Statistics, and Linear Algebra (optional). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

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I doubt there is anything without calculus, right?<br /><br />
 
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yevaud

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Not in Astronomy, I'm afraid to say.<br /><br />Some of the Geography (my other major) and Earth Science tracks aren't quite as math-heavy. But you're still within the same broad profession. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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Trigonometry is integral and a basic necessity for those that Yevaud mentioned above. The most obvious use of Trig in astronomy is determining distance. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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yevaud

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Didn't even occur to me to mention that. I figured it'd be covered in HS. Along with Algebra and Geometry.<br /><br />Although with what I hear about HS nowadays, perhaps not. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

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Yeah, I am also interested in Earth Science, but astronomy intrigues me.<br /><br />I'm afraid the calculus might end up being my roadblock to it, grrr....
 
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yevaud

Guest
Get a tutor and study, study, study. I took my majors in my early 30's. If I can do it, you certainly can. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

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Wow! <br /><br />That is impressive. Yeah, I'll look into it. <br /><br />Do you work in the field of astronomy?
 
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derekmcd

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I hear ya. Back in the 80's, Trig was considered 'fringe' or 'elite'... it should be standard (imo).<br /><br />Chemistry is another overlooked science that is integral to cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, etc...<br /><br />Such a shame our education system is now. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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yevaud

Guest
No, although I could have. I went off and worked in Finance (a lot of jobs for science majors there, thanks to our math ability). But while in school, I was part of three different research projects, and worked in my school's observatory for about 2 years.<br /><br />Have a long career in electronics before the Finance though. Operations Supervisor now. Long story. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

Guest
I would love to work in an observatory.<br /><br />Jeez, you people who understand math so easily are really blessed. I mean, I'm not math ******, but it really does take a lot of effort and energy for me to understand most of it.
 
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yevaud

Guest
I don't understand it easily at all. I used to have daily fistfights with it. But stubborn and persistance wins in the end.<br /><br />I always found, however, the Physics as being easy. <br /><br />Yeah, the Observatory work was fun. I was both a TA for Labs, as well as working our "Public Night." I was the Planet-Guy. I would show you the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and the Jovian Moons, Saturn, etc. Loved it.<br /><br />Got to watch Shoemaker-Levy and the effects of the impacts. That was neat. And I shared a bottle of Champagne with Margaret Geller (PhD, Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Institute) one 4th of July. Very cool. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

Guest
shoemaker-levy crashed into jupiter, right? you saw it at the observatory! cool.<br /><br />sounds like you were a tour guide, hahah, that would be so fun.<br /><br />I'll keep figthing that math though!
 
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yevaud

Guest
That's it. You do what you have the "Game" to do. If you really want to do this, it is not insurmountable an obstacle. Get a tutor; set aside time to study; to hell with the parties.<br /><br />Luck, Man.<br /><br />Oh, and welcome to SDC! Feel free to ask us whatever questions or advice you have. More than happy to help. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

Guest
Yeah, it really is an interesting field of study that is probably worth all the math head aches in the end.<br /><br />And thanks! I came on here with the intention of just asking my question, getting an answer, and busting out, but I've been browsing around and am amazed at how interesting and really how well informed everyone seems to be about astronomy.<br /><br />Most of it enlightened me, which makes me feel like quite the amateur around here.....hahah<br />
 
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yevaud

Guest
Everyone begins as an amateur. You, me, all of us.<br /><br />We learn, if we want it enough.<br /><br />Hang around the various forums and read. Ask questions here and there. You'll get it in no time. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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cowdude

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I will, just don't call me an idiot if I ask a really simple question haha
 
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yevaud

Guest
Nah. They'll be a few of those regardless. Just ignore them. Most of us will be more than happy to try to help.<br /><br />This place has some real cool sometimes. You'll see. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

Guest
The only idiotic question is the one never asked.<br /><br />God bless cliches <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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yevaud

Guest
<img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Yup. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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yevaud

Guest
Anytime.<br /><br />And on that note, out for the night. Seeya. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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