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Senior Staff Astronomical Data Scientist- #0049462
  • Python
  • Machine Learning
  • Excel
  • Database
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy
Baltimore, MD 21218
168 days ago

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is seeking an Astronomical Data Scientist to join the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). MAST is a multi-petabyte archive and the data center for more than twenty space- and ground-based missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope, TESS, Pan-STARRS, the James Webb Space Telescope and Nancy Roman Space Telescope. MAST acts as stewards of the data produced by NASA's astrophysics missions and works to ensure these priceless data sets are available to all.

Come join our team and work to improve the scientific productivity of the MAST data holdings! This candidate would work closely with other scientists and software engineers to provide scientific and technical expertise for MAST projects. Our Astronomical Data Scientists have leadership roles in crafting high-level data products, implementing data-mining techniques, improving the usability of MAST products and providing scientific guidance for the MAST and its missions. You will have the option to buy back up to 50% of you time (FTE) for scientific research through the use of any external funding or grants you may receive.

We encourage applications from scientists in all sub-disciplines of observational or theoretical astrophysics that can support the broad science objectives of MAST's missions. Applicants with expertise in time domain astronomy, solar system/moving target astronomy, spectroscopy, synthetic data, or infrared astronomy would especially complement our existing team.

**STScI has all staff working remotely during COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended and new hires could on-board virtually and will be shipped systems to be able to work remotely until it is safe to report to our Baltimore offices. Relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported.**


This position requires a PhD in Astronomy, or a related field and experience as a scientist supporting astronomical research activities. We require familiarity with software development practices along with some knowledge of Python.

Demonstrated familiarity with one or more of the following is a plus:

  • Spectroscopy of astrophysical sources using long-slit, multi-object, or IFU spectrographs in the UV, optical, or thermal IR
  • Analysis or generation of model, synthetic, or numerical simulations of astrophysical phenomena
  • Astronomical software tools (e.g. TOPCAT) and software packages (e.g. Astropy)
  • Modern software development workflows and tools (e.g., Git)
  • Use of astronomical archives to support research projects
  • Astronomical Databases
  • Data Science skills such as handling heterogeneous, large data sets, machine learning or cloud-computing.
  • Working with teams of software developers
  • Documentation and tutorials (e.g. Jupyter notebooks)

The ideal candidate will have strong communication skills, be able to work with minimum supervision, be self-motivated, and be capable of representing MAST to outside groups. Questions about the position can be sent to Dr. Susan Mullally (Deputy Branch Manager, Archive Sciences Branch).

To Apply: You are requested to complete an on-line application through the STScI website. Please upload a cover letter and resume on one PDF document for review. All applications that meet the above criteria and are to be submitted by June 30th 2020 for full consideration.

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We offer an excellent and generous benefits package, tuition reimbursement, flexible work schedules and a stimulating and diverse work environment.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers, do not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our record keeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

STScI sees the diversity of our staff as a strategic priority in our desire to create a first-rate scientific community. We reflect that deep commitment in strongly encouraging women, minorities, veterans and disabled individuals to apply for these opportunities.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process can contact us at EOE/AA/M/F/D/V

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

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