According to the 2012 United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for astronomers is $96,460. Location and experience level factor into salary determination.
There are three industries that typically hire astronomers. Educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, hire astronomers to teach classes and seminars; this sector pays an average of $76,670 annually. Astronomers that are hired in the scientific research and development sector make an average of $107,170 annually. Finally, astronomers that work for the federal government make an average of $130,570 per year.
Maryland has the highest number of astronomers, and the state also pays the highest salary, with its astronomers earning an average of $128,520 per year.