Research Staff Astronomer

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

Astronomy & Astrophysics

Job code 17-05

Type of Job


Research Staff Astronomer

Job Offer from April 19, 2017

The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg is participating in the development of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Euclid dark universe space mission, which will constrain the nature of Dark Energy and Dark Matter in unprecedented detail. In particular, MPIA is working within a multinational consortium to develop the Near-Infrared Spectro-Photometer (NISP) for the satellite and to coordinate the overall calibration approach.

In this context, the MPIA seeks to recruit an Research Staff Astronomer (Reference 17-05) for a starting date as early as possible.

Your tasks

The position will be that of the NISP Photometry Calibration Scientist and lead of the Euclid Calibration Working Group. Before launch of the mission (2020) your responsibilities will include:

  • implementation and verification of the calibration strategy for the NISP photometry channel
  • development of ground-test and in-flight characterization and verification plans
  • overseeing the overall calibration approach for Euclid as the lead for the overall Euclid Calibration Working Group

After launch, this will be complemented with in-depth analysis of science and calibration data during commissioning and the full survey to guarantee an always up-to-date calibration strategy.

These tasks will be carried out in direct collaboration with the Euclid team at MPIA, and you will coordinate closely with the overall NISP, Euclid science, and ESA mission teams.

Your profile

While your work will in many parts be very team-oriented, you are expected to fully take charge of the calibration tasks for NISP and Euclid. We expect a university degree in a relevant field, preferentially astronomy. You are experienced in working with astronomical data, preferentially already in the near-infrared. You communicate well, both through email, videoconferencing and frequent meetings at MPIA and other places in Europe, and are able to lead a working-group of scientists and engineers on calibration. You can also write and handle formal documentation. Knowledge about calibrating astronomical near-infrared data, including knowledge of detector effects, as well as work experience in international consortia and astronomical space missions is advantageous.

Our offer

The remuneration is according to the German public salary scale (TVöD), level 13. Benefits are offered at a level of the public service rules and include unemployment, healthcare and retirement benefits. The position is in the context of the Euclid mission, with an initial appointment for 3 years, followed by a planned extension to the end of the Euclid mission (~2027). Part of your time will be available for your own research in the stimulating MPIA research environment.

Your application

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and encourages disabled persons to apply. Applications from women and historically under-represented groups are particularly welcome. The MPIA supports its employees in their search for suitable child care institutions.

Applications quoting the reference 17-05 received by 2. May 2017, will be given full consideration, after this until the position is filled. Please send your electronic application to

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Knud Jahnke (for task related questions), phone +49.6221.528 398, .de, or from Ingrid Apfel (for Human Resources), phone +49 6221 528-283, .

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Königstuhl 17
69117 Heidelberg

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