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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0105
Post Date 6/2/2017
Title Assistant Scientist
City Tucson

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.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) is seeking an Assistant Scientist to work as a Staff Scientist for the WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The WIYN Observatory is a consortium funded through NASA-NSF and partner universities. The observatory has a broad suite of astronomical instruments carrying out imaging and spectroscopy. A new cutting-edge radial velocity spectrometer to detect and characterize earth-like exoplanets is being brought to WIYN, slated to start operations in 2019. For more details please see

The Staff Scientist assists in the scientific functions of WIYN including, but not limited to, assisting observing programs from inception (proposals), preparation and on-site observing through to analysis and publication. This position supports the efficient and productive operations of the instrument suite with active involvement in commissioning, maintenance and upgrades of both hardware and software interfaces. There is close interaction with the user community and good communication skills are required.

The Staff Scientist is also expected to carry out a personal science research program aided by the supportive research environment available at WIYN/NOAO. The fraction of time devoted to personal research is 20%.

Essential Functions:

  • Support the One Degree Imager instrument system, working with the ODI instrument scientist. Support observers using ODI, through observer starts.
  • Provide Hydra spectrograph support, including bench set-ups and observer starts.
  • Provide service to visitors and to other members of the scientific staff.
  • Develop instrumentation and data products, and provide service to observatory as required.
  • Conduct scientific research in support of observatory and personal goals.
  • Interact and collaborate with visitors and other staff members looking for opportunities to participate in scientific projects, and in the interest of efficient use of facilities.


  • Ph.D. in Astronomy or closely related physical science.
  • Postdoctoral work in Astronomy or related field.
  • Broad grasp of astronomical instrumentation: Experience in instrumentation projects (at thesis or postdoctoral levels) and control software (Java, C, etc.) would be a strength.
  • Astronomical data analysis skills (Python and similar).

Application deadline is July 31, 2017.

Please list 3 professional references in your application. Please include a statement of professional interests, or cover letter, and a resume or cv, in pdf format (preferred). Please reference Job #17-0105, Assistant Scientist, when applying. If you have any attachments please save them with the following format: 17-0105lastname_docname. Documents that cannot be uploaded with your application can be sent to:

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.

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

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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