The Astrophysics research team at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) invites applications for a Research Fellow to conduct observational exoplanet research using USQ's MINERVA-Australis telescope array located at Mt Kent Observatory in southern Queensland, Australia. MINERVA-Australis, led by Associate Professor Rob Wittenmyer, is a remotely-operated 6-telescope array dedicated to the characterisation of planet candidates from the TESS mission. At commissioning in mid-2018, MINERVA-Australis will host six 0.7m telescopes (1.7m effective collecting area) all feeding a high-resolution spectrograph for precise Doppler velocimetry.
The successful candidate will: (1) Develop and optimise the data-processing algorithms required to derive high-precision light curves from TESS photometric data. (2) Identify candidate exoplanet transit signals and plan MINERVA-Australis observations accordingly to best prioritise the most interesting candidates. (3) Work with the MINERVA team to apply a suite of sophisticated analysis techniques to interpret the signals in the resulting velocities.
The successful candidate will be expected to pursue a vigorous independent research program using MINERVA-Australis, which would include leading and authoring publications describing its scientific output, and representing the MINERVA-Australis team at international conferences. She/He will also be encouraged to pursue outreach and professional development activities consistent with their longer-term career goals, and to participate in student supervision and appropriate service activities to USQ, AAO, ASA, and the profession generally.
We seek applicants with these qualifications: (1) A PhD in a relevant area of Physics, Astronomy or Astrophysics. (2) Demonstrated experience in exoplanetary research using high-precision radial velocity and/or time-series photometric observations. (3) High level of scientific communication skills, as demonstrated by a strong track record of research publications in astronomy. Experience in analysing space-based photometric time series data (e.g. Kepler, K2) is highly desirable.
This position is funded by a grant from the Australian Research Council with appointment for two years.
USQ recognises a diversity of perspectives and ideas as a vital asset, and is committed to engaging people from all backgrounds in a welcoming and inclusive community.