The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship position based at NOAO-South, the site of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), in La Serena, Chile. NOAO is the U.S. national center for nighttime ground-based optical astronomy. Its primary mission is to provide all qualified scientists with open access via peer review to a system of high-performance telescopes with a broad range of aperture sizes. NOAO-South operates the CTIO Blanco and SOAR 4-meter telescopes, is a member of the SMARTS Consortium that operates four smaller telescopes and also provides the infrastructure support for all the facilities on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón. NOAO-South staff members participate in all NOAO-wide programs, including support for current and future users of Gemini and LSST. The overall NOAO-South mission was strongly endorsed by the recent NSF Astronomy Portfolio Review.
In the coming years, the Blanco 4-meter telescope and the recently installed wide-field optical imager, the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) will be the main focus of CTIO. Regular science operations start in the second half of semester 2012B. Other instruments in commissioning, or coming online in the near future are the SOAR Adaptive Module (SAM), a ground layer adaptive optics module built at CTIO for the 4.1-meter SOAR telescope, the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS), an optical spectrograph, and TripleSpec4, an infrared spectrograph. These two spectrographs were built in collaboration with university partners, following the recommendations from the ReSTAR (Renewing Small Telescopes for Astronomical Research) committee and are expected to arrive at CTIO in 2013. In addition, NOAO-South staff are also involved in planning for LSST construction and operations.
The ideal candidate will be an observational astronomer with hands-on experience with, or an interest in learning about, astronomical instrumentation and instrument support. Familiarity with modern observatory operations and scientific data management will also be favorably considered in the selection process. The ideal candidate would be strongly motivated to engage in research related to DECam and LSST.
This NOAO postdoctoral fellowship position provides 50% time for individual research. The successful candidate will be expected to develop an active research career at NOAO, particularly capitalizing on the research opportunities offered by the facilities we operate. Every effort is made to align the scientist’s functional duties with his or her research interests, and scientific support includes a modest annual research budget and coverage for page charges. The NOAO–South scientific staff (15 astronomers, scientists, and postdoctoral fellows) works in a variety of research topics and they are part of a larger community including Gemini and SOAR scientific staff in the same office complex, with astronomers from Las Campanas Observatory and the University of La Serena located close by. As an international observatory, we also benefit from a continuous flow of visiting astronomers passing through the facilities.
The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
The position is based at the AURA campus in La Serena, Chile, which includes the offices of CTIO, SOAR and Gemini-South. The working language is English. Staff members have excellent benefits and living conditions, an overseas cost-of-living adjustment, an educational stipend for dependent children, support for Spanish lessons, international health care benefits, and an annual travel benefit. Bilingual education for children is available at the International School of La Serena http://www.tisls.cl/, which was co-founded by Observatory staff. The city of La Serena is a major seaside tourist destination in South America, with a mild climate somewhat similar to Southern California.
AURA/NOAO is an affirmative action & equal opportunity employer. AURA/NOAO actively supports efforts to broaden participation in all Observatory activities. Women and candidates from under-represented minorities are particularly encouraged to apply.
Applications received prior to February 15, 2013 are assured of full consideration; however, the position will remain open until filled. Applications should include a curriculum vita; a statement of current professional interests and how those interests align with the NOAO program; and the names of three references. Please apply online at http://www.aura-astronomy.org/hr/joblist.asp
Further details can be obtained from the Director of CTIO, Dr. Nicole S. van der Bliek, email@example.com. Profiles of some NOAO Scientists and Astronomers have been posted on the NOAO web pages, to give potential applicants a snapshot of what these positions involve and what it is like to work at NOAO. Please see http://www.noao.edu/staffdir/profiles.php