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Job Title:
Astrophysicist, IS-1330, Grades 12,13, $88,850 to $137,348 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:  Open to all qualified candiates.

Note:  First consideration may be made after 14 days of the opening date of this vacancy.  Selection will be made at either the grade 12 or 13 grade level.  If selection made at the grade 12 level the selectee made be non-competiviely promoted to the next higher level up to the grade 13 upon the recommendation of the Professional Acomplishments Evaluation Committee (PAEC).


This is a position of Astrophysicist with the Processing and Archive Operations (PAOps) team of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) in the High Energy Astrophysics division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The CXC supports the Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXC) science mission. The employee will report to the PAOps lead within the CXC Data Systems Division (CXCDS) and will contribute to scientific and technical operations in the area of data processing and archival.


  1. Function as a member of the CXC PAOps team and support each stage of the processing and archival of Chandra observations, from data receipt through distribution to publication through the CXC public and Virtual Observatory-based interfaces. Provide support to running of the data processing and archival pipelines, bibliographic procedures and the annotation of the archival data holdings. Support the Verification and Validation (V&V) of the data products.
  2. Support the PAOps lead as responsible for the processing of the Chandra Source Catalog (CSC/L3 processing) and the Quality Assurance (QAs) duties within the team. Collaborate with the DS Catalog Development and Catalog Operation teams on the definition of scientific and methodological approaches to catalog processing issues. Contribute to CSC testing through the verification of the scientific validity of CSC source properties and data products.
  3. Assist the PAOps team lead in the interface with other DS teams and CXC groups as necessary by reporting on the status of processing, distribution and archival operations. Participate in and support testing of DS software releases and custom PAOps software in an operational environment.
  4. Conduct independent research in the field of X-ray astronomy and astrophysics, including appropriate observations in other spectral bands when required. Formulate research plans and carry them to completion by planning and preparing observations, analyzing and interpreting the collected data.
  5. Prepare papers presenting research results for publication in scientific journals and presentation at conferences. Participate in scientific meetings and conferences to discuss current research with other scientists and project personnel. Referee papers submitted to scientific journals and participate on NASA peer review committees.
  6. Perform other related duties as requested by the supervisor.


Basic Requirements: A)Degree in one of a combination of astronomy, physics, mathematics, space science or electronics, including course work in differential and integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy or physics; OR

B)A combination of education and experience equivalent to A above including at least 30 semester hours of courses equivalent to a major in any combination of astronomy, space science, physics, mathematics, and electronics with required course work as shown in A above.

In addition to meeting the basic entry qualification requirements, applicants must have specialized experience and/or directly related education in the amounts shown below:

Grade 12

A. Ph.D. degree or equivalent doctoral degree


B. A minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least grade 11 in the normal line of progression for this occupation, which should demonstrate: experience with processing and/or archiving techniques for astronomical data, or knowledge of the operational procedures of an astronomical mission


C. A combination of successfully completed graduate level education and experience equivalent to the above

Grade 13:

A minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 12 in the normal line of progression for this occupation. The experience includes  proficiency with processing and/or archiving techniques for astronomical data, or experience with the operational procedure of an astronomical missions

Qualification requirements are derived from the Office of Personnel Management's Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at 

APPLICATION PROCEDURE We will only accept applications on line for this position.  For complete information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit:  USAJOBS .

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace

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