Question: Hi, just curious as to what astronomers do when the night sky is cloudy and observing is impossible? And what are your regular work hours? Do you start your day in daylight and work into the night? – Jack
Answer: When we get “clouded-out” on an observing run we generally work on the reduction and analysis of data that we gathered when the skies were not cloudy. Also, many astronomers have other duties, such as teaching or observatory support, which we can do when we cannot observe. As for regular work hours, as you can imagine for a profession that allows one to work both day and night, an astronomer’s work hours tend not to be all that “regular”. Most astronomers have a “to-do list” of tasks that they need to work on for any given day. If the “tasks of the day” requires one to start the day early and end late, or vice-versa, this schedule dictates our actual work schedule. Ultimately we are allowed to have flexible scheduled, but we are also responsible to get work done, so we adapt our schedules to get as much work done as possible.