I am a CBSE high school student and I want to pursue a career in astronomy. What subjects should I focus on in my eleventh grade? I want to become an astronaut, so which is the best college that will help me to achieve my goal?

To be an astronomer you will need a degree in either astronomy itself or physics. Since astronomy contains a lot of physics, many universities now offer degrees in astrophysics, which combine physics and astronomy.

This career requires a thorough understanding of physics and mathematics. For a research, faculty or managerial position, it is very likely you would need to do a PhD in astronomy, physics or a similar field. In University you would need to study electromagnetic theory, quantum and statistical mechanics, physics, methodology and the like.

Astronomy degrees involve a combination of theory and observation, though some courses will focus more on one of these aspects. The observational side could include opportunities to use telescopes and other professional equipment at major observatories, which may mean travelling around the world. But be prepared to spend lots of time behind the computer doing analysis, which is a key to modern astronomy.

The top universities to study astronomy at include the names you would expect – MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Berkley Caltech, Imperial, Oxford and Cambridge.

Outside of the US and the UK, the coveted names to consider are the University of Tokyo, ETH Zurich, LMU and Technical University in Munich, NUS Singapore and the EPFL in Lausanne.