The Infrared Group of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching (near Munich), Germany invites applications for a postdoctoral research associate in near-infrared, high-resolution astronomy to work on the Galactic Center.
Our group has been monitoring the stellar orbits around the massive black hole in the Galactic Center for the last 20 years. We aim at improving our astrometry and spectroscopy in the crowded stellar field, with the ultimate goal of testing general relativity with stellar orbits and observations of flares from Sgr A*. This involves both current adaptive-optics based imaging and integral field spectroscopy, as well as NIR interferometry in the near future. To this end we are currently building GRAVITY, the near-infrared VLTI instrument for precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric phase referenced imaging of faint objects. This will open up a new regime in terms of resolution (4 mas) and astrometric accuracy (10 µas). We are the PI institute for this novel facility, and the Galactic Center will continue to be at the focus of our group's research.
We encourage applicants with interests in Galactic Center science, IR instrumentation, and analysis of instrumental systematics. The flexible starting date could be as early as spring 2013. Applicants should have a PhD in astronomy or related field before starting. The post comes with a generous travel allowance and the opportunity to spend time at UC Berkeley as part of an international exchange program in astrophysics between the Max-Planck Society and UCB. Please send a letter of application, a brief description of research interests, a curriculum vitae including bibliography, and three letters of reference by January 6, 2013 to the above address.
The MPE encourages applications from women, minorities, and disabled persons.