Job Overview


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is part of what is arguably the largest and most diverse astrophysical institution in the world, where the staff carries out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics and earth and space sciences. If you would like to join this exciting organization, apply today!

This is the position of Astrophysicist (Senior Observing Assistant) at the Submillimeter Array(SMA) project in the Radio and Geoastronomy Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The purpose of the position is to provide operational and technical support during routine science observations and system testing. The SMA is a radio interferometric array of antennas operating on the 13,200 ft. Mauna Kea in Hawaii.


The incumbent takes a lead role in training and overseeing the students and postdoctoral fellows who will also occasionally perform the tasks of observing assistants.

The incumbent acquires test and astronomical data and operates the array for allocated science observations.  The incumbent will be involved in analyzing data, drawing conclusions regarding the quality, reliability, and scientific content of data, and organizes and summarizes results in reports.  Data analysis tasks will also include deriving new pointing models for the antennas, deriving the antenna positions after periodic array reconfigurations, and antenna surface holography.


Assists resident astronomers in scheduling approved second-shift science projects and overseeing the execution of these projects to make optimal use of the weather conditions and array capabilities. 


Oversees the writing of observatory documentation and manuals and may prepare material for scientific publications and participating in meetings as required.  The incumbent will also participate in community outreach/educational projects.