Senior Astronomer

Apex Systems
Washington, DC
Sep 18, 2019
Sep 21, 2019
Accountant, IT
Full Time
The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) Astrometry Department operates facilities capable of ground-based astrometric and photometric observations of solar system objects (SSOs) and near Earth objects (NEOs) in support of Celestial Reference Frame (CRF) requirements. The systems include automated telescopes that can produce real time data acquisition, calibration, analysis, and orbit determination systems. Data from these telescopes needs to be processed to extract astrometric, photometric and orbital data. Orbit determination is achieved via use of a combination of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) and Government Off the Shelf (GOTS) software tools. These tools have also been implemented on other government assets and with some software modifications, can be tailored to do much of the orbit determination work needed by USNO for study of NEOs and SSOs with the aforementioned ground based assets. USNO is required to provide dedicated astrometry and photometry of celestial objects to DoD under DoD Instruction 4650.09, Instruction for Celestial Reference Frame Management. The development of the optical observing facilities, the operation of these facilities and the associated software described here falls under the purview of this Instruction. This requirement is for an astronomer to support the production of high accuracy orbits for natural and man-made near earth objects (NEOs) based on high accuracy measurements from USNO instrumentation and to compare these orbits with other standard reference data. The contractor shall perform the following tasks: Collection, calibration and astrometric reduction of NEO observational data from USNO assets. Production of Right Ascension and Declination as a function of time for NEOs from 2.1.1. Orbit determination and propagation for target data Validation of real-time and propagated orbits using standard reference data provided by USNO. Quantitative comparison of USNO asset-based orbits and propagations and reference data. Report outlining results of analysis and orbit comparison. CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS The contractor's qualified candidate shall meet the following minimum criteria: Have a PhD in either astronomy or aerospace engineering but with specialized thesis work or professional work experience in orbit determination of natural and/or man-made NEOs Have at least two years of experience converting optical astronomical data of NEOs to orbits. Experience can be from thesis work or from professional work experience. PERFORMANCE LOCATION: The contractor shall perform all tasks under this order at the USNO, Washington, DC facility. Government Furnished Property will not be included in this task order. However, equipment available at the performance location will be made available for the contractor's use and will include the following: computing requirements and software necessary to complete research activity. MEETINGS: The contractor's candidate shall actively participate in weekly planning meetings with USNO staff. Meetings related to the project shall occur at USNO's Washington, DC facility. TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS: The contractor's candidate may be required to travel to conferences at other locations. When required by USNO, the contractor shall comply with such travel requests. For instance, the candidate may be invited to present their findings at a professional meeting such as the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting. The trip will be planned through the USNO technical POC based on the progress made on the research activity. Anticipated travel may include for example, one trip from Washington DC to San Diego for three days to attend AAS. The contractor shall not initiate any travel without obtaining prior approval from USNO. DELIVERABLES The contractor shall generate reports during performance of this task order, as established in this PWS and as required by USNO. Reports shall be delivered in Microsoft Word or PDF format. The contractor shall provide monthly reports to the USNO lead on program status as a part of status meeting updates at USNO. The contractor shall provide an interim report before the end of the period of performance. EEO Employer Apex Systems is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate or allow discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, genetic information, registered domestic partner status, marital status, disability, status as a crime victim, protected veteran status, political affiliation, union membership, or any other characteristic protected by law. Apex will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable law. 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