Postdoctoral Research Associate

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, April 12, 2019
Archive Date: 
Friday, May 10, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Street Line 1: 
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.

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of 40+ US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and NASA.

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

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

EOE AA M/F/Vet/Disability

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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