The optical interferometry group at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is seeking applicants for National Research Council (NRC) postdoctoral positions to work with the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI), one of the world's premier long baseline optical interferometers. The positions would be based in NRL's Remote Sensing Division (RSD) in Washington, DC. The NPOI conducts astronomical research at visual wavelengths aimed at imaging circumstellar material and stellar surfaces, determining binary star orbits to determine fundamental stellar parameters, and measuring stellar diameters and limb darkening. We have also initiated a testbed program for interferometric imaging of satellites.
The NPOI, located near Flagstaff, AZ, consists of four siderostats in fixed locations, plus six movable siderostats, with up to six at a time in use. The current configuration, with baselines (separations between siderostats) ranging from 16 m to 98 m, provides angular resolutions as small as 1.2 milliarcsec (mas). We observe in 16 spectral channels covering λλ500-850 nm, and can reach a limiting magnitude of about 5m at λ800 nm.
The NPOI is in an active state of development. We are installing three moveable 1-meter telescopes equipped with adaptive optics that will give us a 432-m baseline (0.25 mas resolution) and as much as 2m gain in sensitivity; we are adding a near-infrared fringe-tracking beam combiner to be used in tandem with our visible-light combiners; and we are preparing to commission upgraded detectors in the newer of our visible-light beam combiners, which will provide us with spectral resolving power R ~ 200 and 1000.
In addition to significant astronomical research opportunities with the NPOI, these positions provide opportunities in instrumentation, such as beam combination techniques and the application of adaptive optics to interferometry, and in computational techniques. The RSD also houses an active radio interferometry group with close collaborative relationships with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and we encourage collaboration between the groups.
Postdoctoral applications are pursued through the NRC. NRL NRC fellows must have held their doctorate for less than five years at the time the award is offered. Awards are initially for one year (current stipend $74,872, $3000 travel allotment), and renewable for at least one additional year. Applicants submit an original research proposal (through the NRC) for review by the NRL advisor and evaluation by an external NRC panel. We encourage applicants to discuss proposal ideas with interferometry group staff. Application materials and instructions can be obtained at http://www.nas.edu/rap. Deadlines for submission to the NRC are August 1, November 1, February 1, and May 1. US citizenship or legal US permanent residency is required. For further information contact Dr. Tom Armstrong or Dr. Henrique Schmitt at tom.armstrong or firstname.lastname@example.org. EEO/AAE