This is a science fiction intelligent alien biology question.
I'm imagining a race of large (around 2m in height) insect-like species on a distant planet who discovered astronomy VERY late in their technological advancement, in fact only after meeting aliens from another planet. This was because of the combination of several factors such as their compound eyes, the atmospheric composition of their planet, and their species biologically and culturally being more interested in what's below than above them in general. At the time of them first meeting aliens and discovering the existence of outer space, their technological level is slightly more advanced than present day humans of 21st century, with the exception of those fields dependent on the knowledge of astronomy and some fields being significantly more advanced, like biology.
Now, I'm entertaining an idea that upon being granted access to the knowledge in astronomy and astrophysics built up by the aliens, a few members of their race showed astonishing proficiency in those fields, rapidly becoming major contributors to the interstellar astronomy community, and that it's because of a particular biological trait shared by those individuals. What could this trait be?
A few points to consider:
- The very first astronomers of this race worked almost entirely on existing data on sheets and made significant scientific achievements from just that.
- Astronomy and astrophysics are complex fields of science with a lot of things going on, such as computation of orbit, understanding the composition of a planet's atmosphere, making sense of data and theorizing on what could explain it, etc. And then there are activities such as making observations, explaining existing data, discovering new physical laws and equations, etc. Our insectoids don't have to excel at everything astronomy, they just have to be good at a particular task that's very useful for astronomy. Bonus point if the task is helpful for explaining anomalous data.
- The trait in question doesn't have to be related to their vaguely insect-like biology, though traits that actual Earth-insects have and would be helpful for this species' astronomical studies would be very nce. But a purely intellectual trait wouldn't be interesting unless there's good reason to make it unique to this species. Also note that this trait doesn't have to be shared by all individuals.
- The interstellar community obviously have FTL, allowing them to directly visit some celestial bodies they want to observe.
- One idea I'm considering is that they have a hive mind and can essentially perform grid computing. But for now let's assume they're all their own individuals.