Postdoctoral Associate in Exoplanet Science

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
City: Flagstaff
State/Province: AZ
Country: USA
Contact Person: Catie Blazek
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: Lowell Observatory
Application Due Date: Friday, January 15 2021
Web Link:

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position at Lowell Observatory to work on exoplanet detection, confirmation, and characterization. This position will be supervised by Dr. Joe Llama.

The initial appointment is for one year, renewable for an additional year contingent upon satisfactory performance, and availability of resources. The position is expected to be split with 80% of the time dedicated to the main program and 20% for any other research of the postdoc’s choosing. The start date is negotiable. This position is funded by active grants and comes with a competitive salary with full benefits. Funding is available for computer resources, attending conferences, publication charges, and observing runs. Postdocs at the Observatory have access to our 4.3m Lowell Discovery Telescope (LDT) including the EXtreme PREcision Spectrograph (EXPRES), as well as several 1-m class telescopes. Lowell offers numerous opportunities for involvement in education and public outreach.


The postdoctoral researcher will work with Dr. Llama on both analyzing existing observations of exoplanet systems and also obtaining new observations EXPRES on the LDT and other high-resolution spectrographs including IGRINS on Gemini South, iSHELL on NASA’s IRTF.

The postdoc will contribute to some combination of the following tasks:

  • Conduct regular telescopic observations, either remotely or on site to measure the masses of newly discovered planets from the TESS survey.
  • Characterize exoplanet atmospheres with high-resolution optical and infrared spectroscopy.
  • Develop new software tools and techniques for removing telluric contamination from high-resolution infrared spectra.
  • Commission and develop curriculum for a medium-resolution optical spectrograph for use by the Observatory’s Outreach team to demonstrate spectroscopy to the general public.
  • Lead publications relevant to this work.



The postdoctoral associate should have experience with observations and analysis of data specific to exoplanet science.

Strong programming skills are highly desired. Experience with the Python programming language is preferred.

Regular meetings with project team members are expected, but in general the postdoc will be encouraged to work independently.  They must be able to prioritize tasks, set schedules, troubleshoot problems, and complete complex tasks on time and within deadlines. 

The postdoc is expected to reflect the professional and collegial environment the Observatory strives to maintain.

Applicants should specify in their research statement why they are interested in this position.


A PhD in physics, astronomy, planetary science, or a closely related field is required by the start date.


Working at a computer and sitting for extended periods. Driving to remote telescope sites to conduct nighttime observations. Candidate must have or be able to obtain a valid AZ Driver’s license and have an excellent driving record.  A Motor Vehicle department background check will be performed annually. 

Compensation Type:                     Salary
FLSA Classification:                      Exempt
Status:                                             Full time, regular
Term:                                               1 year with possibility of annual renewal
Benefit Eligible:                              Yes
Location:                                         Flagstaff, Lowell Observatory’s Mars Hill Campus

To Apply:

Please send a single pdf document to [email protected] that includes the following:

  • Lowell Short Form Application (
  • A 1-page cover letter
  • CV
  • A statement of research accomplishments and future research plans. Candidates should explicitly describe how their experience and interests are relevant to this position. (3 pages)
  • Phone numbers and e-mail addresses of three professional references

Review of applications will begin on January 15, 2021.