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Requisition Number 17-0219
Post Date 10/11/2017
Title Intern
City Hilo
State HI

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

Gemini North has one opening for research interns (undergraduate students or recent graduates) to work with Dr. Siyi Xu, Dr. Atsuko Nitta and Dr. Scot Kleinman on general white dwarf-planetary system science in the period for four months, January-April 2018. The students are expected to be available for work full time, though part time work over a longer period will also be considered. The start date is flexible, however will preferably be no later than February 1. This position is a paid student internship.

We are looking for a highly motivated student to go through the large dataset from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and search for low mass companions around white dwarfs. Specifically, the student will look for radial velocity variations in the SDSS spectra and also cross-correlate with other databases to constrain the photometry of the white dwarf.

White dwarfs are the final evolutionary stage of most stars and our Sun will become a white dwarf in about 5 billion years. Recent studies find strong evidence for the presence of asteroids and planets orbiting around white dwarfs. Our group at Gemini Observatory (North) works on a wide range of topics related to white dwarf science and its planetary systems.


The successful applicants must have good English communication skills, including being able to clearly document performed work. Students with prior experience with UNIX/Linux/MacOS-X will be given preference. Qualification for the internship includes good general astronomy background and strong programming skills, preferably in python. Training in the relevant coding techniques will be provided.

Further information about the positions can be obtained from Dr. Siyi Xu,

To apply, submit a cover letter, CV, grade sheet for courses completed, and provide names and contact information for two professional references. Using the electronic application procedure for Gemini positions, upload one PDF file containing all required information. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Assessment of applications will start November 1, 2017.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
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  • 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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