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General Astrophysics with the TESS Mission

Job Description

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Reference Code
Application Deadline
7/1/2023 6:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, TESS, is a NASA Explorer class mission that launched in April 2018 and began science operations in July 2018.  TESS carries four identical telescopes and associated CCD detectors that together cover a 96 X 24 degree field-of-view (FOV). TESS collects high-precision photometry in a single, wide, red-optical band to monitor bright stars and identify transiting exoplanets. The mission observes the sky in sectors comprising the full FOV that have a dwell time of ~27 days but overlap toward the ecliptic poles where targets can have continuous observations for nearly one year. Over its 2-year primary mission, TESS will survey ~85% of the sky, largely avoiding the Ecliptic plane. TESS collects science data every 2 minutes for a select number of bright targets and obtains full-frame-images (FFIs) spanning its entire FOV at a cadence of 30 minutes.
This rich data set allows for a wide variety of additional time-domain astrophysics investigations beyond exoplanets. Examples include, but are not limited to: eclipsing binary stars, stellar variability (rotation, flares, pulsations, etc.), extragalactic transients (supernovae, gravitational wave counterparts, AGN, etc.), and solar system objects (asteroids, comets, etc.). We seek a postdoctoral candidate to use TESS data to pursue an astrophysics topic relevant to NASA's science goals and beyond the primary mission goal of transiting exoplanet discovery. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center also hosts several other time domain astrophysics missons currently in operation (Swift, Fermi, NICER, etc.) and others in development (e.g. LISA). Proposals that capitalize on more than one resource are encouraged.
Qualifications for this opportunity include a Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline. Prior experience with time domain astrophysics analyses, high precision photometry, and other relevant skills are desirable.
Interested applicants should contact the advisor(s).

Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland
Field of Science:Astrophysics
Joshua Schlieder
301 286 2584
Elisa Quintana
Knicole D. Colon
Patricia T. Boyd
(301) 204-6503
Eric D. Lopez
Richard Barry

Applications with citizens from Designated Countries will not be accepted at this time, unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the United States. A complete list of Designated Countries can be found at: https://www.nasa.gov/oiir/export-control .

Eligibility is currently open to:

  • U.S. Citizens;
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR);
  • Foreign Nationals eligible for an Exchange Visitor J-1 visa status; and,
  • Applicants for LPR, asylees, or refugees in the U.S. at the time of application with 1) a valid EAD card and 2) I-485 or I-589 forms in pending status

Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree.

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