Prospective students

So, you want to do research in astronomy?

Read on to learn more about careers in astronomy, and how to decide whether you want to get a Ph.D. If you are interested in joining STAR Labs, you should go read up about our research. Then scroll to the bottom of this page and see what skills our group members usually posses. Whether you are an undergraduate student looking for research opportunities or a prospective Ph.D. student, it helps to have a few of these skills under your belt. Our Ph.D. admissions follow the standard IIT Bombay and Physics department procedures. If you are interested in a postdoctoral position, contact Varun Bhalerao directly.

Careers in Astronomy:

Getting a Ph. D.

The STAR Lab skillset

Members of our group have a variety of skills. If you are interested in joining us, it will be useful to know a few of these:

Basic astronomy

You should know a bit about stars, galaxies, and the universe (reading "A brief history of time" does not count). You could have read a textbook, been a part of astronomy olympiads, or be an avid amateur astronomer.

If you want to build up your skills, you can start off with checking out Astronomy Picture of the Day regularly. Follow the trail of links, and read up more information about various topics on Wikipedia. Next, you can start reading regularly. This is a group of graduate students around the world, who summarise the latest astronomy papers in an undergraduate-accessible manner. Finally, you should pick up a standard textbook!


We work a lot with python, especially astropy, numpy and matplotlib. There are a lot of good resources online. Astropy tutorials are a good place to start. Then you can head over to the GROWTH Winter School resources - a collection of videos and python notebooks based on a school we held at IIT Bombay in 2018. Knowledge of databases, flask, and shell scripting are added bonuses.

Engineering skills

We develop hardware, and that means our group members need to have engineering skills in addition to a background in astrophysics. Our members have worked on topics like computer aided design, finite element analysis, optical design, electronics, FPGA coding, etc.