HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 20-36
Opening date: March 23, 2020
Closing date: April 20, 2020

TITLE: Astrophysicist, GS-1330, Grade 7; $44,597.00 to $57,972.00 /yr plus a COLA of 4.42% and 8% hazardous duty pay
TYPE OF POSITION: Federal Term - 13 months. This appointment may be extended up to four years.
DIVISION: - Submillimeter Array Project, Radio and Geoastronomy Division
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.


This is the position of Astrophysicist (Observing Assistant) at the Submillimeter Array project in the Radio and Geoastronomy Division, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SMA), Hilo, HI. Comprised of 8 relocatable antennas and associated instrumentation, the SMA is an interferometer array for astronomical observations at submillimeter wavelengths, 190 - 420 GHZ. Support offices/laboratories are located in Hilo while the telescope is located on Maunakea at 4075m (13375 ft) altitude.


1. Operate the SMA from the control rooms on Maunakea and in Hilo during scheduled shifts to acquire astronomical and test data. Science operations require attentive monitoring of antenna pointing, receiver and correlator characteristics, general system performance, and data quality. Setup the array prior to observations, which entails visual inspection of the antennas, receiver tuning to optimize sensitivity, and system readiness tests.

2. Participate in the analysis and interpretation of the test data, which may include the integration of the pointing data acquired from optical and radio observations and from tilt meters into a global model of antenna performance; drawing conclusions regarding the quality and reliability of scientific data; and organizing and summarizing results in reports.

3. Assist visiting and staff astronomers with their astronomical and test observations, including data analysis with astronomical imaging programs such as CASA, MIRIAD or IDL. Participate in the modification or development of observing and data reduction software.

4. Contribute to written observatory documentation, manuals and scientific publications.


All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements:

Degree in one or a combination of astronomy, physics, mathematics, space science, or electronics. The course work must have included differential and integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy and/or physics.


Combination of education and experience -- at least 30 semester hours of courses equivalent to a major in any combination of astronomy, space science, physics, mathematics, and electronics, with required course work as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

In addition to Basic Requirements above, you must have one year of specialized experience (Federal or other) that is equivalent to at least the GS-5 grade level in the Federal government performing the following duties: providing operational and technical support during science observations including engineering checkout, testing and calibration of scientific instruments. Specialized experience for this position would typically include activities such as operating a telescope at a world class or university observatory, leading or assisting with astronomical or physics research, or writing or modifying computer software either professionally or as part of class work.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. To view the complete vacancy posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, please visit: USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

Visit our SAO website.


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