The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is seeking a software engineer with hardware experience to expand and enhance Skynet, a worldwide network of robotic telescopes. UNC facilities on Skynet include eight 16" – 32" telescopes at CTIO in Chile, four upcoming 17" telescopes in Australia, and a 24" telescope on the UNC campus. Additional third-party telescopes across the United States and Europe are also integrated into Skynet, with many more becoming ready for integration, including Green Bank’s 20-m radio telescope.
Since 2005, Skynet has taken nearly 5 million exposures for about 30,000 users. In addition to being used for GRB follow up, Skynet telescopes are the leading discoverer of SNe in the southern hemisphere and the leading tracker of NEOs in the both hemispheres. Skynet observes a wide array of transient phenomenon for a wide array of users, now resulting in about one journal publication per month. When not being used for research, it is used by students of all ages, elementary through undergraduate, as part of a variety of NSF-sponsored programs.
We use Python to implement websites, custom servers, and telescope testing utilities, along with a C++ library for data analysis. Our servers run Apache, MySQL, and several custom Skynet processes under Linux, and host a 25TB RAID for image storage. Telescope control computers run Windows to take advantage of the broad hardware and software support for observatory equipment. We are building software in C# to talk to ASCOM, MaxIm DL, TheSky6, serial devices, and other custom hardware, and to coordinate with the Skynet server. Some legacy code on both the server and client side is written in Labview. Familiarity with telescope automation, hardware control, and remote diagnostics is essential to this job, and existing familiarity with many of the technologies we currently use is highly desirable.
Job responsibilities include developing support for new types of telescope equipment, integrating new telescopes into the Skynet network, remotely maintaining and diagnosing problems with the UNC telescopes, adding new features to the website, and maintaining the servers that host the Skynet webserver, database, image data, and custom services.
Applicants should have an MS in Computer Science, a PhD in Astrophysics, and/or appropriate work experience. This position is funded for at least the next three years. Pay and benefits are commensurate with experience and degree (respectively).
Applications must be submitted here: http://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/9762. Additionally, please submit contact information so we may request three letters of recommendation. Applications are due Monday, January 7, 2013. If there are any questions, please email email@example.com.
The University of North Carolina is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.