MeerKAT Operations Scientist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
To event remaining 8 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Government Agency
Institution/Company: 
South African Radio Astronomy Observatory
Department Name: 
Science Operations
Street Line 1: 
2 Fir Street
Street Line 2: 
Black River Park
Street Line 3: 
Observatory
City: 
Cape Town
State/Province: 
Western Cape
Zip/Postal: 
7925
Country: 
South Africa
Announcement
Job Announcement Text: 

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) is seeking to employ Operations Scientists at different levels of seniority commensurate with the experience of applicants. In this role, the successful candidates will support MeerKAT telescope operations, its users, and have the opportunity to carry out their own research.

The SKA precursor MeerKAT is a 64-dish radio interferometer located in South Africa, inaugurated in 2018. While transitioning to full science operations, numerous exciting discoveries have already been made with MeerKAT. In parallel with a robust science program, development of new capabilities continues. 

MeerKAT's sensitivity, wide field of view, wide bandwidth, and sensitivity to low surface brightness emission pose new challenges in characterisation and calibration of the telescope, both requiring and providing growth opportunities to a dedicated team of technically-minded astronomers. More information on MeerKAT can be found at https://skaafrica.atlassian.net/servicedesk

Duties and responsibilities of the successful candidates may include but are not limited to:

  • Support telescope operations and MeerKAT users:
    • Serve as Astronomer on Duty on a roster basis
    • Support users in the preparation of proposals, observation schedule blocks, calibration strategies and data reduction
    • Improve operations and scientific performance
    • Maintain calibration of the telescope
    • Provide quality assurance and quality control of the telescope data products
    • Support the engineering team in commissioning of new observing modes
    • Prepare technical reports
  • Conduct/publish own research
  • Mentoring and training of junior staff members

The successful candidate will be considered for appointment at a standard or senior level, commensurate with experience and record. Appointments are renewable 5 year contracts. The successful candidate will be based at the SARAO offices in Cape Town, South Africa, with an option to do substantial work from home. The candidate will have the opportunity to conduct their own research, subject to telescope delivery demands, with a maximum of 50% of time allocated to research.

Minimum education requirement:

PhD in astronomy, astrophysics or related field

Minimum work experience required:

  • Three years working in the field of radio astronomy, post PhD (eight years for senior scientists)
  • Experience in radio telescope operations
  • Track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals in physics or astronomy
  • Experience in reduction and analysis of interferometric radio astronomy data using advanced calibration and imaging techniques

Experience in widefield imaging and spectropolarimetry would be advantageous. 

To apply, please email your cover letter and CV to [email protected]

About The Employer

SARAO spearheads South Africa's activities in the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, commonly known as the SKA, in engineering, science and construction. SARAO is a National Facility managed by the National Research Foundation and incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT telescope in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (AVN) programme in nine African countries, as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, October 8, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Nomonde Dlakana
Title: 
HR consultant
Institution/Company: 
SARAO
Department Name: 
Human resources
Street Line 1: 
2 Fir Street
Street Line 2: 
Black River Park
Street Line 3: 
Observatory
City: 
Cape Town
State/Province: 
Western Cape
Zip/Postal Code: 
7925
Country: 
South Africa
Phone: 
+27 21 506 7300
FAX: 
+27 21 506 7375
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Sharmila Goedhart
Subject: 
MeerKAT Operations scientist