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    This is the position of Astrophysicist in the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). The purpose of this position is to support flight operations of the Chandra High Resolution Camera (HRC). The position is charged with the technical and scientific responsibility for formulating and conducting developmental research in the area of x-ray astronomy and high-energy astrophysics. The work will include the planning and design of experimental apparatus to evaluate detector concepts and the analysis of results, the analysis and interpretation of experimental data, the proposing, planning, and designing of observing programs, the analysis and interpretation of observations including relevant optical and radio results, and the publication of significant scientific results. Results are expected to contribute to the understanding of the nature of astrophysical problems and advances in the acquisition of astrophysical data. The employee's prime responsibility is to support the High Resolution Camera (HRC) mission operation by providing insight into the flight performance of the HRC both through analysis and experiments with the flight instrument and the flight back-up HRC.

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    • Provide experimental support, including planning, carrying out and analyzing appropriate calibration measurements, and interfacing and collaborating with members of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), contracting agencies, industry, and other scientific groups as regards HRC flight performance. Formulate, devise, plan, and execute experiments using the flight back-up HRC for measurements of scientific instruments (SIs). Develop suitable calibration investigation of the instrument performance, specify and demonstrate the equipment and techniques used, and quantify SI limitations by using analyses and experimental data.
    • Conceive, define, develop, and test instrumentation at or beyond state-of-the-art technology to be used in x-ray astronomy facilities required to attack critical scientific problems of marked significance to the field. Plan and carry out instrument and observatory level testing and calibration, spacecraft integration, launch support, and post-launch mission operations. Experimentation is to solve difficult and long-standing problems in x-ray astronomy and related fields.
    • Conduct research in the conception, design, and study of advanced detector or optics concepts for x-ray astronomy. Design and build experimental apparatus for testing and evaluating new instruments. Propose and carry out experiments involving the development of X-ray instrumentation leading to flight opportunities in sub-orbital and satellite missions, including the analysis and theoretical interpretation of results. Responsible for project implementation, including obtaining funding, supervising necessary scientific and support personnel, and interfacing with NASA or other contracting agencies to establish necessary requirements, assurance, and operation of experiments.
    • Conduct research with x-ray satellite observations, especially Chandra, and with other space­ and ground-based facilities. Interact with scientists at SAO and at various institutions to coordinate activities in areas such as planning x-ray observing and developmental programs and carrying out observations at various wavelengths. Develop computer algorithms as necessary, interpret the results of these observations doing theoretical calculations when appropriate. Perform and/or obtain the results of other necessary supporting astronomical observations, e.g., optical, radio, IR, etc. The main thrust of these activities is to support the assessment of the flight performance of the HRC but will often lead to results of astrophysical significance.
    • Prepare papers containing research results for publication in scientific journals and presentation at conferences. Participate in scientific meetings and conferences to discuss current research with other scientists.
    • Give advice on scientific and technical approaches to others working on the same or related projects, as appropriate.
    • Perform other duties as assigned.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Travel will be required when on observing assignments and attending national meetings.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    This position is open to all qualified candidates

    Selection for this position will be made at either the grade 13, 14 or 15 level. If selection is made at the grade 13 or 14, the selectee may be non-competitively promoted up to the grade 15 upon recommendation of the Professional Accomplishments Evaluation Committee (PAEC).

    First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date

    Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/480974800. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.