Post Doc in Exoplanet-Related Spectroscopy

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Exoplanet-Related Spectroscopy

Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) seek a postdoctoral scientist to work on ground-based follow up of exoplanet candidates discovered by NASA's TESS Mission, mostly using LCO's Network of Robotic Echelle Spectrographs (NRES). The ideal candidate should have demonstrated expertise in stellar spectroscopy, including radial velocities, and also in statistical analysis of large data sets. Candidates from other astrophysical fields with strong data analysis backgrounds are also encouraged. This position is funded by a grant from NASA to:

  1. Use spectroscopic and imaging methods to follow up new exoplanet candidates discovered by NASA's TESS Mission, both to distinguish true exoplanets from false detections, and to measure the masses and orbital properties of confirmed new planets.
  2. Help refine the hardware, software, and operations procedures of NRES to make it a more capable scientific tool.

The successful candidate will also lead personal science projects, and contribute to the overall mission of the observatory – the creation of a worldwide network of robotic telescopes specializing in time domain astronomy. LCO currently operates ten 1 meter and a growing number (currently seven) of 0.4 meter robotic telescopes, which will be used in this program. Five of the 1 meter telescopes (distributed over three sites -- McDonald Observatory in Texas, CTIO in Chile, and SAAO in South Africa) host NRES spectrographs, and a fourth site (in Israel) will get a spectrograph in the coming months. The 1 meter and 0.4 meter telescopes also carry imagers with many optical filters. LCO operates a computer facility at its headquarters near Santa Barbara, CA, for processing and archiving incoming data from the LCO telescope network.

  • Applicants should submit a CV, cover letter, and research statement, and should arrange to have three letters of reference sent to Electronic PDF submissions are preferred.
  • Applications complete by June 30, 2018 will receive full consideration.
  • A Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline is required.
  • The term of this position is 2 years, with a possibility of extension pending a successful funding outcome.
  • LCO and the UCSB Department of Physics are especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research. LCO and UCSB are equal opportunity employers.

This position has the option to be held as an employee of UCSB and thus receive the UCSB benefit package for Postdoctoral Scholars or held as a direct employee of LCO with similar benefits, but still affiliated with UCSB. For further information on UCSB benefits, see The preferred start date is September 1, 2018.

Interested candidates, please submit application details to