Post-Doctoral Researchers in Exoplanet Imaging #0040885

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Monday, November 18, 2019
Archive Date: 
Monday, January 13, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Space Telescope Science Institute
Street Line 1: 
3700 San Martin Drive
Baltimore, MD
United States
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Applications are invited for two postdoctoral positions at the Space Telescope Science Institute for exoplanet imaging, including opportunities in instrumentation, observation, or a combination of both projects:

1- Preparation for and analysis of JWST high-contrast observations of exoplanets and brown dwarfs using guaranteed time in cycle 1;
2- Laboratory technology development for very high contrast imaging on segmented apertures such as the LUVOIR concept.

The successful applicant(s) will work with Drs. Remi Soummer, Marshall Perrin, Laurent Pueyo, Chris Stark, and colleagues. Details of these two major efforts are as follows; applicants should indicate interest in either or both projects.

During the first year of science operations for JWST, our team will conduct several programs in exoplanets, brown dwarfs, and debris disks imaging and spectroscopy with the NIRCam and MIRI coronagraphs and the NIRSpec IFU, including observations of the HR 8799, Beta Pictoris, and 51 Eridani planetary systems, among others. The main goals are to obtain high-SNR mid-infrared measurements for characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres. This work will involve observational data analysis, scientific interpretation and modeling, and collaborative efforts to assess JWST high contrast performance and craft optimal data processing strategies early in the mission. In advance of JWST data, areas of effort will include development of analysis tools and pipelines based on simulated JWST data, and/or modeling of relevant currently-available high contrast datasets from ground-based facilities and HST. This position will include collaborating with other GTO teams and the high contrast imaging Early Release Science program community, and will include opportunities to pursue similar independent projects with JWST, HST, and ground based facilities. 

The other major area of effort is laboratory instrumentation development of very high-contrast coronagraphy for future large segmented space telescopes, working on our HICAT testbed in the Makidon Optics Laboratory at STScI. Coronagraph designs by our group are the baseline for the LUVOIR mission concept, and we are engaged in a series of laboratory tests building towards an integrated full-systems demonstration of coronagraphy and wavefront control on a dynamic segmented aperture. Efforts in this area will include hands-on testbed operations and data analyses, continued development of control methods including low- and high-order wavefront sensing, and performance optimizations. In addition to working with our lab team of scientists and engineers, this position will involve collaboration with colleagues at NASA Goddard and JPL.  

The successful applicants will work as part of the active, welcoming, and highly regarded exoplanet imaging group at STScI, including approximately two dozen scientists, engineers, postdocs, and grad students engaged in a wide range of studies spanning exoplanets and circumstellar disks using space and ground-based facilities.  STScI offers a dynamic postdoc environment, with an active program of journal clubs and science talks, a postdoc mentoring program, and a prime location on the Johns Hopkins University campus. The upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope makes this an exciting time to come to Baltimore. 

The nominal start date is Fall 2020, but earlier start dates are possible and encouraged. Initial appointments are for two years, with likely renewal for a third year (subject to satisfactory performance and continued funding). Any questions about the positions should be directed to Marshall Perrin and Remi Soummer at

Applicants must hold a Ph.D. degree in Astronomy, Physics, Optics, Planetary Science, or related fields at the start of the post-doctoral researcher position. Research experience is desirable in some combination of observational studies of extrasolar planets, especially using high contrast imaging coronagraphy or integral field spectroscopy, planetary atmosphere modeling, instrumentation development, signal processing and wavefront control. This campaign is open to candidates at all career stages from junior postdocs to more senior postdocs or research associates / optical scientists. All candidates are encouraged to apply and will be assessed accordingly.

Prospective applicants should complete an on-line application through:

The following materials are requested in a single PDF file: a brief cover letter detailing your research interests and relevant expertise, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and a summary of previous and current research (limited to 3 pages). Complete applications received by January 13, 2020, will receive full consideration. Applicants should arrange for three confidential letters of reference to be submitted by January 20, 2020 via the online application system.

Questions regarding the application process can be sent directly to

STScI offers an excellent benefit package, competitive salaries, and a stimulating work environment.  STScI’s pay for postdoctoral researchers is commensurate to the year of Ph.D. We especially welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans, LBGTQ+ people, and other members of underrepresented groups.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, January 13, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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