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    Selection for this position will be made at either the grade 12, 13 or 14 level. If selection is made at the grade 12, or 13 level the selectee may be non-competitively promoted to the next higher level up to the grade 14 upon recommendation of the Professional Accomplishments Evaluation Committee (PAEC). 

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    This is the position of  Astrophysicist in the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The employee will undertake a significant technical role in the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) working with CXC staff and NASA to maximize the scientific return of the ACIS instrument on the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The work will include generation of commands to the ACIS instrument, review and verification of spacecraft command loads to ensure the proper ACIS configuration, monitoring of the space radiation environment and safing the ACIS instrument when appropriate, monitoring the health and safety of the ACIS instrument, and the analysis and interpretation of flight data to ensure the quality of the scientific data. The position is charged with technical and scientific responsibility for formulating and conducting developmental research in the area of X-ray Astronomy and High Energy Astrophysics. The work may include the planning and designing of necessary experiments, the analysis and interpretation of experimental data, the proposing, planning, and designing of observing programs, the analysis and interpretation of observations, and the publication of significant results.

    • Undertake a position as a CXC Instrument Scientist for the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS), with responsibility for the operation of the ACIS instrument. Propose and carry out specific investigations of ACIS performance and procedures, including solutions to unanticipated spacecraft or instrument events. Conduct and oversee the analysis of these studies, developing computer algorithms as necessary and supervising their implementation. Interpret the results of these investigations, doing theoretical calculations when appropriate. Review ACIS observing programs and advise Observers using the ACIS instrument on optimal configurations to achieve the scientific goals.
    • Monitor the health and safety of the ACIS instrument as part of a rotating weekly schedule of the ACIS Operations Team. Monitor the realtime and dump data from the ACIS instrument to identify possible issues with the instrument performance and take action as necessary. Monitor the space radiation environment, calling telecons as needed, and take appropriate safing actions as needed.
    • Conduct research with X-ray satellite observations and with other space and ground-based facilities.
    • Serve on committees, if/when invited, for purposes of scientific proposal review, scientific planning activities, as an advisory resource, and for establishing future directions of astronomical standards and in defining standards for astronomy.
    • Determine the most relevant and fruitful areas for research, and conceive, propose, and carry out observational and data analysis efforts directed towards a wide range of astrophysical systems utilizing X-ray and other spectral and imaging data and other ground-and space-based facilities. Formulate plans and hypotheses in areas which are new and unexplored, or which have presented critical obstacles in the past, and carry them through to completion. Determine the applicability of findings to activities and interests of the Division and Observatory.
    • Participate in overall astronomy programs of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), the High Energy Astrophysics division, and in overall scientific programs at SAO. Interact with scientists at SAO and other institutions to coordinate activities such as scientific observations and analysis, software development, and overall planning in astronomy.
    • Prepare papers presenting research results for publication in scientific journals and presentation at scientific meetings and conferences. Attend professional meetings for the purpose of presenting new results and participating in the discussion of related efforts by other scientists. Referee papers submitted to scientific journals and participate on NASA peer review committees, if/when asked.

    Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/511860800. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.