Job posting 11-40
Opening date: May 3, 2011
Closing date: June 10, 2011
TITLE: Astrophysicist, IS-1330, Grade 5, 7, 9, 11 $34,234 to $81,583.00
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - High Energy Astrophysics Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All qualified US Citizens or US Permanent Residents.
The position is amended to show 2 vacancies.
Selection may be made at grades 5, 7 or 9 grade level. This is a career ladder opportunity with
promotion potential to grade 11. A candidate selected at grade 5, 7 or 9, may be non-competitively promoted to
the next higher grade level, up to grade 11, upon the recommendation of the supervisor based on
classification requirements, satisfactory performance and qualifications of the employee.
The Solar and Stellar X-Ray Group (SSXG) researchers in the High Energy Astrophysics Division
study solar and stellar atmospheres which are composed of extremely hot, highly dynamic plasma.
SSXG activities include designing, testing, building and operating instruments, analyzing space and
ground-based observations, and creating theoretical models. The Research Assistant will support
research in the area of solar physics, specifically in obtaining data and analyzing data from sounding
rocket investigations and the group's other programs, such as SDO/AIA and Hinode.
at the Grade 5 and 7 are in the form of assigned tasks relating to the duties described for
the next higher grade level. At these levels the employee is a developmental trainee where he/she
receives on-the-job training and developmental experience.
Grade 9 : Duties may include but are not limited to: participating in the testing, fabrication and
calibration of software and instrumentation for the group's solar projects; assisting the scientific staff
in the conceptual definition of solar observing programs through research; participating in the
SDO/AIA and XRT investigations; analyzing quick-look data and evaluating observed sequences
along with analyzing sets of observations including data results; analyzing observational data from
solar projects such as coordinated observations with satellites and group based telescopes, and
calibration data sets; aligning images and comparing data with different theoretical models; assisting
in the development of written procedures and standards for analyzing data sets; assisting in
publishing papers and or present talks or posters at professional meetings on the results of
All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements:
A. Degree in one or a combination of astronomy, physics, mathematics, or space science. The course
work must have included differential and integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy and/or
B. Combination of education and experience - at least 30 semester hours of courses equivalent to a
major in any combination of astronomy, space science, physics, and mathematics with required course
work as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
In addition to meeting the basic entry qualification requirements, applicants must have specialized
experience and/or directly related education in the amounts shown below:
Grade 5: Applicants who meet the basic requirements described above are fully qualified.
Grade 7: One year of specialized experience equivalent to the grade 5 level in the normal line of
progression for the occupation. Experience at this level normally would have included working in a
research group conducting solar research.
Completion of one-year of graduate level education
Superior Academic Achievement (SAA) when it provided the applicant with the criteria necessary to do the
work of the position. For SAA requirements please go to OPM website:
One year of specialized experience equivalent to the grade 7 level in the normal line of
progression for the occupation. Experience at this level normally would have included working as a
research assistant or data specialist running data analysis routines; scripting, writing, performing data
reduction and archiving, and scripts for running data analysis software.
2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate
For information on qualification requirements, see
Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For a copy of the
complete vacancy announcement and how to apply, visit: USAJOBS
NOTE: Appointment will be subject to the applicant’s successful/satisfactory completion of a pre-appointment background check and subsequent background investigation, including fingerprinting. New employees are subject to a one year probationary period. Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses but may pay recruitment bonus.
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.
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