Fixed term contract for 24 months commencing 1 August 2018
PLATO is a European Space Agency mission which will detect terrestrial exoplanets and. provide key information to determine the habitability of these diverse new worlds. The Open University’s element, led by Dr Ulrich Kolb, considers the problem of astrophysical false positives that will contaminate the sample of exoplanet candidates delivered by PLATO and will prepare tools to inform the PLATO field and target selection so as to minimize the number of contaminants, and maximize information available for contaminant analysis of individual sources.
You will extend and enhance large-scale numerical simulations of a synthetic Galactic population of single stars, binary and multiple stellar systems, and their planetary systems, to match potential PLATO fields. You will engage with Gaia Data Release 2 to conduct a validation and calibration exercise, and to derive constraints on the statistics of stellar multiplicity and underlying physical mechanisms.
You will have a PhD in Astronomy or a related discipline and an understanding of the physical concepts and mechanisms underpinning single and binary star formation. You will also have coding experience in a compiled language (e.g. Fortran) and in Python, and will have a developing track record of peer-reviewed publications in international scientific journals. The ability to work as part of a scientific team and to communicate scientific information effectively are also essential.
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