Astronomy Outreach Specialist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, December 17, 2021
Archive Date: 
Friday, January 21, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
AURA/Vera C. Rubin Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Vera C. Rubin Observatory is a brand-new astronomical facility currently under construction in Chile, with staff based in Tucson, Arizona. Rubin Observatory will undertake the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) which promises to be one of the largest and most comprehensive astronomy surveys of its kind. Rubin Observatory will enable countless discoveries in almost every area of modern astronomical research—discoveries made possible by the team that built the Rubin Observatory system, and by the global science community that Rubin Observatory serves.

The Rubin Education and Public Outreach (EPO) team is a small, interdisciplinary group of astronomers, writers, designers, and developers building data visualizations and astronomy resources for students and the general public. Our goal is to make LSST data, astronomy, and science interesting and accessible to a broad audience.

Your Role:

The Rubin EPO team is developing a variety of resources and online tools that will enable the public to explore and engage with Rubin data and discoveries. As the Astronomy Outreach Specialist, you will be responsible for understanding and curating future Rubin data for use by EPO tools like our all-sky visualization, citizen science infrastructure, and our online, interactive education program. You will also work with the EPO software development team to translate astronomical domain expertise and data needs into functional requirements for EPO backend infrastructure.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to use your astronomy expertise and outreach experience to help create content across the entire EPO program, contributing to website articles, videos, graphics, and images.  We need YOU to help build relationships with the scientific community, identify engaging narratives for Rubin discoveries, and curate the data that will power the interactive EPO program.  Finally, as the Astronomy Outreach Specialist, if you have your PhD, you will have the option of up to 20% of your effort dedicated to academic research. 

As the Astronomy Outreach Specialist on our team, your primary responsibilities will be:

  • Building and maintaining working knowledge of the Rubin Science Platform and all Rubin data products
  • Curating precursor and future Rubin data to populate existing EPO products and programs
  • Identifying new ways Rubin data and scientific discoveries can be interactively presented to the public
  • Acting as the EPO science liaison to the Rubin Data Management team by working to communicate EPO’s data needs while optimizing the overlap of each group’s goals
  • Building relationships with Rubin science collaborations and science community to help identify and promote the discoveries being made
  • Providing astronomy knowledge and expertise to content creators on the EPO team
  • Working with the EPO team to form and maintain strategic partnerships with organizations serving groups traditionally excluded from STEM

You will also have the opportunity to contribute to:

  • Helping create content across the entire EPO program including website articles, videos, graphics, images, etc.
  • Applying astronomy knowledge in order to develop compelling narratives to communicate discoveries to the general public
  • Collaborating on the style and content of data visualizations used throughout the EPO program

About you:

A strong candidate will be excited to create innovative and interactive experiences and tools for sharing astronomical data and discoveries with the world. You will bring astronomy expertise and science communication skills to the EPO team. You will help build relationships with the science community to inspire new content and ensure the scientific validity of the program. To achieve this, you will work closely with every member of the Education and Public Outreach team.

Here are some qualities that we will use to evaluate who makes a great candidate:

  • Master’s degree or PhD in astronomy or physics
  • Experience working with astronomical imaging and data visualizations
  • Experience in communicating astronomy topics to the general public
  • Dedicated interest in identifying partnerships EPO can make, and work that can be done, to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the EPO program
  • Familiarity with python, Jupyter notebooks, and other common astronomical python packages
  • Ability to write effectively and to communicate using a variety of media for technical and non-technical audiences
  • Ability to set goals, work independently and manage your own projects
  • Ability to align your projects with those of other team members to achieve team goals
  • Passion for astronomy, science communication, education, and outreach

Additional preferred qualifications include:

  • Evidence of expertise working with optical astronomy data; this might include astronomical observing, writing data reduction pipelines, and image data processing
  • Experience in creating color astronomical images and/or HiPS all-sky images is a plus but not required
  • Demonstrated experience in creating and/or leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to broaden participation in astronomy
  • Familiarity with large catalog databases
  • Experience working in formal and/or informal education settings
  • Multi-lingual (especially Spanish) is a plus, but not required

COVID-19 Policy Update: AURA has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy that requires all employees to be vaccinated, unless qualified for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons. All new employees will be required to comply with this policy and will be required to present proof of full vaccination or submit a completed request (including supporting documents, if applicable) for an exemption at least five (5) business days prior to their start of employment. Individuals who fail to meet this deadline may have their employment start date delayed.

This is a requirement for all employees working onsite or from home (telework or hybrid remote work schedule). Currently the vaccination requirement does not apply to any future AURA employees working in Chile, regardless of their nationality or type of contract.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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