2016 Grants for Summer Interns iREx

The institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), recently created at Université de Montréal, brings together professors, researchers and students specialized in the detection and characterization of exoplanets and low-mass objects, young stars and protoplanetary disks. They are engaged in a variety of observational, theoretical and instrumental projects. More details on the scientific program of iREx are available on http://www.exoplanetes.umontreal.ca/?lang=en.

The institute is offering excellence grants at all levels (BSc, MSc, PhD and postdoctoral). At this time, iREx is calling for applications to Trottier Excellence Grants for Summer Interns. The summer internships last 4 months (May-August). They are a unique occasion for students at the BSc level to join iREx’s dynamic team and get involved in cutting-edge research in astrophysics. Interns will be able to participate actively to breakthrough scientific programs related to exoplanets and related thematic issues.  The researchers who are available to supervise interns this summer are the following professors: Nick Cowan (NC), Andrew Cumming (AC), René Doyon (RD), David Lafrenière (DL), Pierre Bastien (PB), and the researchers Étienne Artigau (EA), Loic Albert (LA) and Julien Rameau (JR). Internships in the following topics are offered:

1 – The NIRISS Optical Simulator (NOS) – Acquisition and analysis of infrared images obtained in the laboratory (LA and JR);
2 – Space Telescopes in Service of Exoplanets: constructing and testing high-fidelity detector models to enable atmospheric characterization (NC)
3 – A search for distant planets in archival SPITZER images (EA and JR);
4- Data analysis related to brown dwarfs and exoplanets companions of young stars (EA, DL, JR);
5- Algorithms development to search for young stars (DL, RD, JR);
6- Age determination of the candidate target stars of the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) (RD);
7- Data simulations for the future James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), related to the study of exoplanets using transit spectroscopy and direct imaging (LA, EA, RD, DL);
8- Development in the laboratory of an optical simulator for NIRISS, one of the instruments of JWST, related to the study of exoplanets using transit spectroscopy. (LA, EA, RD);
9- Numerical simulations for the performance of SPIRou, a  infrared spectropolarimeter dedicated to the research of terrestrial exoplanets via high-precision radial velocity (EA, RD);
10 – Observations and analysis of data obtained with POMM, the new high-precision polarimeter at Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM), for the plausible targets of GPI survey (PB).

The interns could also participate to one or more observing missions at OMM during the summer. The 3,000$ Trottier Excellence Grant for Summer interns can be combined with NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) for a total amount of 7,500$. For non-bursary students, professors will complete iREx’s Trottier Excellence Grant to provide a total amount of 6,000$ for the internship. All students currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in physics or astrophysics in a Canadian university are eligible to apply. The internship will take place at Université de Montréal. Four Trottier Excellence Grants for Summer interns will be attributed in 2016.

Interested candidates should provide a curriculum vitae, an academic transcript and a short statement of interest (a few paragraphs at most) in which they explain their motivation to obtain the internship, and their preferred thematic. The applications must be submitted by email at irex@astro.umontreal.ca before January 12th, 2016. The successful candidates will be contacted by the end of January.

Observatory Software Engineer

Prof. Stanimir Metchev at the University of Western Ontario Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration invites applications for an observatory software engineer.  The successful applicant will be expected to aid with the installation and automation of a robotic array of small-aperture telescopes equipped with rapid-imaging cameras. Depending on interest and qualifications, additional opportunities for collaborations with Metchev’s team exist in the fields of
exoplanets, brown dwarfs, or circumstellar debris disks.

Candidates must hold at least a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent in Computer Science, Physics, Astronomy, Applied Mathematics, or a related field.  Strong computer programming expertise is required. Background in systems automation, data management, or image analysis would be advantageous.  The start date is flexible, but preferably no later than April 1, 2016.

Required Skills:
- experience with Linux and Windows Operating Systems
- experience with TCP/IP communication
- experience writing software interfaces to hardware devices
(e.g., temperature controllers, CCD devices, etc.)
- experience with a scripting language (python, Perl) is a plus
- experience with XML is a plus
- ability to learn new software languages / systems quickly

Candidates should submit a resume, a brief statement of experience and interests, and the names and contacts of three references directly to Prof. Metchev.  The position is open until filled. For full consideration, complete applications should be received by February 1, 2016.

For more information, please contact Prof. Metchev (smetchev@uwo.ca).

Postdoc in substellar/exoplanetary and/or time-domain astronomy

Prof. Stanimir Metchev at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) Centre
for Planetary and Space Exploration (CPSX) invites applications for a
Postdoctoral Fellow in the fields of substellar objects, exoplanetary
systems, and/or time-domain astronomy.  The successful applicant will
lead aspects of an on-going Exploration Science program with the Spitzer
Space Telescope on the variability and atmospheric properties of brown
dwarfs. Depending on interest, opportunities also exist for the design
and automation of a robotic telescope array for time-domain astronomy.
The candidate will be expected to actively pursue additional
ground-based observations in support of one or both of the above
programs.

Metchev leads the Weather on Other Worlds international collaboration,
and is a member of the GPI Exoplanet Survey and the CFHT/SPIRou Planet
Search Legacy Survey teams.  Other research at UWO CPSX spans the fields
of planetary science, astrophysics, and astrobiology.  Collaborative
opportunities exist with members of these teams and disciplines. UWO has
access to all Canadian national telescopes, including Gemini, the CHFT,
ALMA, and a slew of 1-2 metre-class telescopes.  Metchev’s team also
regularly uses other facilities, including Hubble, Magellan, NOAO
telescopes, NASA/IRTF, and McDonald Observatory.

Candidates must have a doctoral degree in Astronomy or a related field.
Background in precision photometry, spectroscopy, or time series
analysis would be advantageous.  The start date is flexible, but
preferably no later than April 1, 2016.

Candidates should submit a curriculum vitae, a brief statement of
research experience and interests, and the names and contacts of three
references directly to Prof. Metchev.  The position is open until
filled. For full consideration, complete applications should be received
by February 1, 2016.