Postdoctoral Research Associate

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Street Line 1: 
950 N Cherry Ave
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) division of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) is seeking for immediate hiring a Postdoctoral Research Associate for its operations based in Tucson, Arizona.

Project Definition and Scope:

The ANTARES project (Arizona-NOAO Temporal Analysis and Response to Events System) is to develop a tool for rapid identification of interesting sources from a growing number of imaging surveys that also provide temporal sampling. The goal is to develop a prototype for rapid identification of the “rarest” time domain alerts from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which will trigger tens of thousands of alerts per minute. Since only a tiny fraction of these can actually be followed up by other facilities, it is critical that rapid characterization of alerts from LSST and other time domain surveys be done in ways that identify phenomena that have high priority for follow up. The project is a collaboration between astronomers and software engineers at NOAO and computer scientists at the University of Arizona.

The successful applicant will participate in the development of the ANTARES prototype by supporting the science needs of such a tool: developing characterization requirements and algorithms, identifying the most efficient ways of recognizing known types of phenomena, and consolidating known information about astrophysical sources, to name a few. The applicant will also have to opportunity to utilize this system on real-time alert streams.

This effort is led jointly by Richard Snodgrass and John Kececioglu of the department of Computer Science at the University of Arizona, and by Thomas Matheson and Abhijit Saha of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). The selected candidate will work as a member of the team under the direction of Drs. Matheson and Saha, focusing on utilizing the wide range of characteristics of different variable astronomical sources to filter the alert stream. The candidate will have access to the resources at NOAO and will be encouraged to conduct independent or collaborative research.

The start date for this position is negotiable, with a preference for earlier dates, and the possibility of an immediate start. The appointment is expected to be for a term of 2 years. Renewal up to a total term of 5 years may be possible subject to job performance, funding, and observatory program needs. Please address enquiries to and/or

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Applicants must have a PhD in Astronomy/Astrophysics or a related field
  • Experience in an area of time domain Astronomy/Astrophysics is preferred
  • Proficiency in programming and familiarity with statistical methods in the context of “big data” will also be a plus

Headquartered in Tucson, AZ and funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), NOAO is the US national center for nighttime ground-based optical and infrared (OIR) astronomy. The fundamental mission of NOAO is to enable scientific discovery by a global research community. NOAO’s Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) operates archives, software, and services to enable data-intensive astronomy, and coordinates access to the full array of OIR astronomy resources available to the US community, including the twin 8.1-m telescopes of the International Gemini Observatory. In addition to the CSDC, NOAO operates world-class telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) on the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, and at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA).

NOAO offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment.

To apply, please submit a cover letter outlining how your interests and experience match the position, a CV/resume (PDF format preferred), and the names and contact information of three professional references with your application.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at


Application Deadline: 
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
AURA Human Resources