Staff Scientist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Street Line 1: 
950 N Cherry Ave
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The WIYN Observatory (part of Kitt Peak National Observatory) has an opening for an Instrument Scientist. This position is defined as an NOAO Staff Scientist at the WIYN Observatory, primarily to support the NEID radial velocity spectrometer. NEID is an exciting new facility instrument, designed to be able to detect and characterize earth-sized planets, following up on NASA space missions like TESS. It will improve on the sensitivity of existing instruments by a significant factor. NEID is currently scheduled to be installed in April 2019 and start operations later in the year. The Scientist will be involved in all aspects of the operation of NEID, starting with commissioning.  They will interact with the users at all stages to ensure that NEID, operating in a queue observing mode, achieves and maintains a high level of scientific productivity. They will have a unique opportunity to carry out high impact research with NEID. Good communication skills are required in order to promote close interaction with the user community. The Scientist will be an integral part of the WIYN science team and will need to become familiar with and support the suite of instruments at WIYN.

The staff Scientist is expected to carry out personal research for a nominal 20% of their time and will find a fostering, supportive environment at NOAO/WIYN.

Essential Functions: 

  • Conduct scientific research in support of observatory and personal goals.
  • Support the NEID system, working with the Science, Engineering, Mountain support staff, Instrument Queue Observers and Telescope Operators.
  • Will be responsible for the NEID queue observing system and interactions with the user community.
  • Work closely with the Instrument Team (based at Pennsylvania State University) on technical and scientific instrument support.
  • Familiarity with data reduction, and analysis, for efficient on-site queue management.
  • Function as backup for other instrument support (the wide field optical imager, ODI, and the multi-object spectrograph, the HYDRA/Bench Spectrograph, are examples).
  • Support visiting scientists in their use of facility instruments, and actively participate in observatory operations and educational outreach.
  • Collaborate with staff scientists in research and development of instrumentation, data products and other observatory service as identified at various times.

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Ph.D in Astronomy or closely related physical science.
  • Postdoctoral work in Astronomy or related field. Experience in radial velocity or other exo-planet research is expected.
  • Broad grasp of astronomical instrumentation.
  • Astronomical data analysis skills (Python and similar).

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates.

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

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) manages several astronomical observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory and the Gemini Observatory) and construction projects (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and Daniel. K. Inouye Solar Telescope) 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


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

Included Benefits: 

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

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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AURA Human Resources
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