Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
Government Agency
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 



Trust Fund (Non-Federal), Indefinite

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) invites applications for the position of Astrophysicist to support flight operations on the Chandra X-ray Observatory High Resolution Camera (HRC) instrument team. The primary responsibilities of the candidate will be to support all aspects of operations of the flight instrument and to lead the laboratory effort to maintain and operate the HRC Proof-of- Concept Engineering Model. The SAO High Energy Astrophysics Division supports a range of advanced optics and detector development. The candidate would have the opportunity to play an important role in these projects. We solicit applications from researchers in all areas of astronomy, but encourage applications from candidates whose research interests include development of instrumentation, either optics or detectors, for future high-energy astrophysics missions. We seek a candidate with a strong publication history and demonstrated ability to successfully write proposals.

A thorough knowledge of astronomy, physics, or astrophysics, and demonstrated experience working with astronomy data, is required. The position requires demonstrated experience in a laboratory environment. The candidate will have working knowledge of vacuum systems, electronics, cryogenics, etc. commonly used in a modern research laboratory. Previous experience with micro-channel plate detectors, pixilated Si sensors, or X-ray optics is highly desirable, but not formally required. The successful candidate also will have advanced knowledge of modern computer techniques, simulation and data analysis techniques, and conceiving, designing, overseeing the development and testing of new software aimed at producing new scientific products for general use. The successful candidate will have experience with programming languages commonly used in the astrophysics community such as Python, C/C++, IDL, perl, or Fortran in a UNIX/LINUX environment. The candidate will communicate the results of her or his analyses via scientific papers, technical
memoranda, conferences, or meetings. We offer an invigorating environment working in partnership with the Chandra X-ray Center scientific and engineering staff.

Duties include:

 Support routine HRC flight operations. Tasks include regular monitoring of the health and safety of the instrument, command load reviews, and responding to instrument and satellite anomalies.


 Maintain the HRC Proof-of- Concept engineering model and use it to troubleshoot on-orbit problems.


 Analyze calibration data from the flight instrument


 Develop innovative algorithms to streamline trending, reduce and characterize the instrumental background, and improve the scientific return from the flight instrument


 Conduct scientific research in high energy astrophysics


 Develop new optics or sensor technologies for future high energy astrophysics missions


 Write observing proposals to gain access to international observatories or funding for development of advanced instrumentation


 Contribute to the intellectual environment of the Chandra X-ray Center and SAO


 Work as part of a team.


We will only accept applications on line for this position. Qualified applicants will be requested to submit three letters of recommendation. To view the complete vacancy announcement and online application procedures, please visit


Application Deadline: 
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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