SALT Postdoc (Fabry-Pérot)

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Archive Date: 
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Small Academic
National Research Foundation - South African Astronomical Observatory
Department Name: 
SALT Astronomy Operations
Street Line 1: 
Observatory Road
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa
Job Announcement Text: 

SALT Postdoc (Fabry-Pérot)

The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), on behalf of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) Foundation (Pty) Ltd, is seeking qualified candidates for the position of SALT Postdoc with a focus on the refurbishment and re-commissioning of the Fabry-Pérot mode on the Robert Stobie Spectrograph.

The SAAO is the National Facility for Optical and Infrared Astronomy of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and it is the premier optical/infrared research facility on the African continent, with global research and outreach collaborations, contributing to SET human capital development for South Africa. Research focus areas include extragalactic astronomy, time domain astrophysics, planetary astronomy and instrumentation development. Its headquarters are in picturesque Cape Town with a Mediterranean climate, while its telescopes are at Sutherland in the semi-arid Northern Cape. Distributed between the two sites, SAAO employs about 130 people, many of them scientists and engineers, and is contracted to operate the 10-m Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), on behalf of the international SALT Foundation (Pty) Ltd.

This position will be mainly based in Cape Town, with some extended periods of stay in Sutherland during re-commissioning.



Their main responsibility will be to assist in all phases of the refurbishment project of the Medium Resolution (MR) and Low Resolution (LR) etalons of the Fabry-Pérot mode of the Robert Stobie Spectrograph (RSS). The RSS is located at the prime focus on SALT. Specific responsibilities are:

  • assisting with the development, acceptance tests, re-calibration, re-commissioning and performance verification of both the MR and LR etalons, both in the lab and on sky;
  • providing support on this mode to the SALT Astronomy Operations team and to the SALT Community;
  • developing a process for data reduction for both modes;
  • preparing and completing all relevant documentation;
  • ensuring knowledge transfer to the SALT Astronomy Operations team within the timeframe of this position;
  • Carrying out their own astronomical research using SALT, SAAO and/or other facilities, for which up to 30% of their time will be available.


Minimum requirements:

  • PhD in Astronomy or related field.
  • 3 years of experience in optical observational astronomical research and relevant data reduction packages.
  • Proven ability to carry out own astronomical research.
  • Proven aptitude to quickly understand complex systems and to communicate clearly and effectively.


Desirable Work Experience

  • 3 years or more of research experience using Fabry-Pérot would be a very strong advantage.
  • Instrumental and/or software development experience, such as data reduction pipelines or web-based software, would be an advantage.
  • Proficiency in some of the following programming languages would be an advantage:
    • Fortran
    • Python
    • MySQL
    • LabVIEW
  • Interest in PR and outreach, using social media or otherwise, is also an asset.


The position will be for a period of up to three years, depending on funding. The salary package will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

The filling of this position will be in line with the NRF's Employment Equity Policy and Plan.

Applicants should send a cover letter and CV to the Head of SALT Astronomy Operations, Dr. Encarni Romero Colmenero ( and to the SAAO HR Manager, Linda Tobin (, and organise three letters of reference to be sent to both addresses. 

For further information please contact Dr. Romero Colmenero at the above address.


Applications should be submitted no later than 15 November 2019.


Application Deadline: 
Friday, November 15, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, December 20, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Mrs. Linda Tobin
HR Manager
National Research Foundation - South African Astronomical Observatory
Street Line 1: 
P.O. Box 9
Street Line 2: 
Cape Town
Zip/Postal Code: 
South Africa
+27 21 4470025
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Dr. Encarni Romero Colmenero
SALT Fabry-Pérot postdoc enquiry