Job Offers

INPhINIT Incoming PhD: " Understanding how exoplanets are born, how they mature and how they survive the death of their star"

Deadline: 2020-02-04

CARMENES consortium and instrument study planetary systems and their stars. We focus on very small stars because of the great interest they present for the discovery of habitable exo-Earths. To this aim, our group built CARMENES, an instrument, the first of its kind worldwide, currently in operation at CAHA observatory, to detect habitable exoplanets. The closest stellar neighbour to our Sun is Proxima Centauri, a small M dwarf, the most abundant type of stars in our Galaxy and the nearest in distance to our Sun. We know that, according to observations, most of them host planetary systems. To understand them better, we need to accurately determine the parameters and internal structure of the host stars and understand the physical processes behind their variability and the formation and dynamics of planets around them. Most exciting is to learn about the evolution in time of the whole system. Stars form from enormous clouds of gas and dust. However, we do not know yet if their planets form from the same cloud, once it has collapsed to form a disk orbiting the star, or by coagulation of the dust into larger rocks to form the core of planets. We do not know well where they form within the disk or how they migrate to form the mature, close-in systems that we observe. This is due, mainly, to the fact that there are extremely few detections of protoplanets with the RV technique, which would provide accurate minimum masses and orbital parameters for these objects. At the other end of the star’s life, we have not detected yet exoplanets around white dwarfs (WDs), the final fate of stars like our Sun. Their detection would probe the evolution of planetary systems during the late stellar evolutionary phases to learn about the fate of our own Solar System. Searches using the classical RV monitoring are hampered by the shape of the light (the spectrum) emitted by these stars. However, material falling onto the WD from an orbiting debris disk produces signatures that make this RV monitoring possible.

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INPhINIT Incoming PhD: "The role of angular momentum in galaxy evolution: A study of neutral gas in isolated galaxies with Square Kilometre Array pathfinders"

Deadline: 2020-02-04

AMIGA (Analysis of the interstellar Medium of Isolated GAlaxies) is an interdisciplinary team at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía playing a major role in the SKA international project, a next generation radio telescope which will be the largest scientific infrastructure on Earth, and output data at a rate comparable to the entire present day bandwidth of the internet. The PI of this position coordinates the Spanish participation in the SKA, while her AMIGA team is strongly involved in preparatory science and in developing a Precursor SKA Regional Centre (SRC), an environment to provide access and resources to exploit data from SKA and its precursors. She has mentored a total of 6 PhD theses, 17 postdocs and 7 other staff. Thus, AMIGA provides an exceptional opportunity, unique in Spain, for a PhD candidate to become deeply involved in SKA, a facility that will be transformational for radio astronomy over the coming decades. The proposed project falls into the core of AMIGA science, which focuses on comparing the properties of galaxies in extreme environments, with a special emphasis on atomic gas (HI) as a tracer of interactions, in which AMIGA has a unique expertise in Spain. The main AMIGA sample consists of about 700 highly isolated galaxies in the nearby Universe, acting as a reference for how galaxies evolve in the absence of external influences. A fundamental, but little studied, property in regulating the gas content and star formation in galaxies is their angular momentum (e.g. Obreschkow+2016, Lutz+ 2018). It may act as a hidden variable in scaling relations between optical properties (e.g. diameter or luminosity) and HI mass, and could potentially explain why such relations have considerable scatter. In the existing studies there are almost no isolated galaxies by the strict AMIGA criteria, hence an in-depth study of the angular momenta of isolated galaxies is crucially missing, and this constitutes the research context of the proposed PhD work.

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INPhINIT Incoming PhD: "Searching Planetary Systems in Death Suns"

Deadline: 2020-02-04

The search for planetary systems around stars other than the Sun (i.e., exoplanets) has become one of the major topics in modern Astrophysics. The exoplanet research group at the IAA has led the construction of CARMENES, a spectrograph currently in operation at the 3.5m telescope of the CAHA Observatory specially designed to “hunt” exoplanets orbiting M dwarf stars in the habitability zone. One of the main objectives of the Severo Ochoa program at the IAA is the scientific exploitation of CARMENES to detect a whole population of exoplanets and to characterize their atmospheres. Exoplanets have been found around many different types of stars, with biases depending on the detection method towards giant planets (photometric transits), planets in close orbits (radial velocity studies of Sun like stars), and planets in the habitable zone (radial velocity studies of M dwarf stars). Only exoplanets around white dwarfs, the final fate of low- and intermediate-mass stars including our Sun, are missing so far. Theoretical models predict the survival of planetary systems through the evolution of these stars along the red giant phases and during the short-lived planetary nebula phase. White dwarfs with gaseous debris disks are very promising candidates to host planetary systems whose detection would probe the relevant parameters for the late survival of planets to investigate the final fate of our own Solar System.

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INPhINIT Incoming PhD: "Remote visualization of 3D radioastronomical Big Data for SKA Regional Centres"

Deadline: 2020-02-04

The AMIGA team at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA) is an interdisciplinary group actively involved in the SKA (Square Kilometre Array), a next generation radio telescope which will be the largest scientific infrastructure on Earth and will deliver 600PB/yr to a network of SKA Regional Centres (SRCs). The SRCs will provide access to SKA data and resources for their exploitation. The PI of this position (LVM) coordinates the Spanish participation in the SKA, with strong support from J. Garrido (JG, coadvisor of the proposed Project), and her team is involved at both scientific and technical levels. AMIGA complements fundamental science with applied e-Science research, aiming to enhance scientific work, transparency and Open Science. The team contributes to the development of standards for the Virtual Observatory (VO) and is a member of the ESCAPE H2020 project, aiming to address the Open Science challenges shared by ESFRI facilities. The group participated in the SKA Science Data Processor design, contributing to the SKA Preservation and Delivery subsystems. AMIGA also participates in the European SRC design (AENEAS H2020 project) and LVM is nominated by the Ministry to represent Spain in the international SRC Steering Committee. She leads the development of a Precursor SKA Regional Centre at IAA. LVM has mentored 6 PhD theses and 17 postdocs and 7 other staff. AMIGA provides a unique opportunity in Spain for a PhD candidate to become involved in SKA and the SRCs. The large size of the SKA data (2TB-112TB/data product) will change how science is done, moving to a new paradigm where scientists can no longer download data. New research on visualization of 3D radio data is needed, since the existing implementation of hierarchical tiling of sky regions in the VO ecosystem (HiPS IVOA standard) lacks interactivity and cannot be used for scientific analysis unless the data is downloaded. This constitutes the research context of the PhD work.

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INPhINIT Incoming PhD: "A fault-tolerant computing architecture for a space weather mission "

Deadline: 2020-02-04

The IAA’s Solar Physics Group (SPG) is a dynamic research group formed by scientists and engineers from many disciplines whose main scientific interests root in solar spectropolarimetry and magnetic fields from three points of view: theoretical, observational, and instrumental. Investigations and developments are carried out on: · the structure and physical nature of photospheric magnetic structures like plage and network flux tubes, the umbra, the penumbra, the moat of sunspots, and the internetwork magnetic fields, as well as on the magnetic coupling of the various atmospheric layers of the Sun; · the design, development, and construction of solar instrumentation for space missions and stratospheric balloons: PHI instrument for Solar Orbiter and IMaX, IMaX+ and SCIP instruments for Sunrise. · the radiative transfer equation (RTE) for polarized light in the presence of magnetic fields, in order to work out the sensitivities of the Stokes spectrum on the various physical quantities of the solar photosphere. Of relevance to this project is our development of an electronic inverter of the RTE and a compression core for sending the data to ground. The present proposal builds upon this development. The SPG is currently working on pre-developments for the Polarimetric and Magnetic Imager instrument (PMI) which will be boarded on the Lagrange mission (ESA). If approved, the SPG will have co-PI responsibility for developing the whole Electronic Unit and harness of PMI. In the harsh environment of Lagrange, we cannot use common commercial-off-the-shelf processors due to radiation problems and to power limitations. The combination of state-of-the-art, radiation tolerant devices like ASIC or FPGA becomes almost mandatory. The computing architecture embedded within those devices must be specifically designed to deal with a particular problem, therefore they will have be tailored to each stage of processing, which implies a great design and validation effort.

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NEW OPENING FOR A SEVERO OCHOA PhD POSITION: "Modelling non-LTE IR emissions of exo-atmospheres: Interpretation of JWST spectra"

Deadline: 2019-11-07

IAA-CSIC offers a four years PhD contract in the framework of the Project “Severo Ochoa”. Candidates are expected to carry out their activity in the research line of planetary system. Supervisor: M. López-Puertas (puertas@iaa.es). The large number of exoplanets known to date (>4000) lead to their study in a systematic way, e.g., their characterization, how do they form and how they evolve. Part of its study is the characterization of their atmospheres, which is key for studying their origin and evolution. That is, one of the major fields of research in exoplanets nowadays is the connection between atmospheric compositions and formation. Important advances about atmospheric composition have been carried out recently, both from space and ground-based observations. Next major step forward is expected from JWST observations, where the moderate resolution (R~2700) at near and mid-infrared is expected to advance significantly the characterization of the atmospheres. The work proposed falls in this context. Several groups have developed retrievals codes in preparation for JWST measurements analysis. So far, no non-LTE study is being carried out, even though non-LTE is expected to be important, principally in the eclipse emission measurements, as have been shown for the Earth’s atmosphere and for some exoplanets. Ultimately, the proposed non-LTE modelling will be a module of a more general retrieval code that we at IAA plan to develop.

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NEW OPENING FOR A SEVERO OCHOA PhD POSITION: " High angular resolution studies of recently detected star clusters at the Galactic Centre - the initial mass function in extreme environments"

Deadline: 2019-11-07

IAA-CSIC offers a four years PhD contract in the framework of the Project “Severo Ochoa”. Candidates are expected to carry out their activity in the research line of starts formation in the Milky Way and Local Universe. Supervisor: R. Schödel (rainer@iaa.es). In the GALACTICNUCLEUS survey we have recently been able to confirm the presence of young stars (< 30 Myr) throughout the nuclear disk of the Milky Way, within 100 pc of the central black hole (Nogueras-Lara et al., subm. to Nature Astronomy), via an analysis of the K-band luminosity function. This agrees with the prediction from ionising radiation and three detected Cepheids (Matsunaga et al. 2011) that there must be at least a dozen so far undetected young clusters hidden in the high density background of the Galactic Centre - in adddition to the known massive young clusters (Arches, Quintuplet, central parsec). Due to the extreme and spatially highly variable (on scales of 1”) interstellar extinction toward the Galactic Centre, these clusters have remained undetected so far. Thanks to our work on proper motions, by combining GALACTICNUCLEUS with the HST Paschen Alpha survey (and new data that we are (obtaining with VLT/HAWK-I), we are now able to pinpoint the location of these clusters via proper motion measurements (work of B. Shahzamanian, postdoc in the IAA GC Group).

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NEW OPENING FOR A SEVERO OCHOA PhD POSITION: "Jets, Accretion and Magnetic Fields Around Supermassive Black Holes at the Centers of Galaxies"

Deadline: 2019-11-07

The IAA-CSIC offers a 4 year PhD contract in the framework of the Project “Severo Ochoa”. Candidates are expected to carry out their activity in research line: Galaxy Evolution, Cosmology and Black Holes Accretion. Supervisor: Iván Agudo (iagudo@iaa.es) Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are the most energetic objects known so far, and are produced by the fall of gas at the center of some galaxies towards their central supermassive black hole (SMBH). Among the large diversity of known AGN, there is a fundamental difference between radio-emitting AGN and non-radio-emitting AGN, the first being those that produce powerful relativistic jets of magnetized and highly energized plasma. These jets in AGN are propelled along the rotation poles of the accretion disk-SMBH system. One of the most exotic types of radio loud AGN is blazars, a class defined by the extreme variability of its non-thermal radiation from radio wavelengths to the highest gamma-ray energies. The remarkable properties of blazars include apparent superluminal motions up to ~ 50 times the speed of light, extreme changes in total flux and linear polarization on time scales of up to minutes, and extremely variable gamma-ray luminosities that may exceed those of other bands of the electromagnetic spectrum in up to 3 orders of magnitude. In blazars, the relativistic jets emit most of their radiation (and point) at an angle of <10º with regard to the line of sight, which makes them to shorten their time scales of variability to give blazars the remarkable properties by which they are known. Other types of radio-loud AGN include radio galaxies, with jet viewing angles >> 10º, that display much longer time scales of variability, and much less luminous emission at all ranges of the spectrum. At these radio wavelengths, relativistic jets in radio galaxies are visible in their entirety from the innermost scales near the central SMBH, to distances that even frequently exceed the size of the host galaxy. This PhD project is guided by the motivation to answer some of the main current questions in the field of AGN research, i.e.: a) What are the properties of the environment near the central supermassive black hole (accretion flow)? Why do some AGN produce jets and others not? b) What particle acceleration mechanisms capable of keeping jets in AGN collimated until such long distances are predominant? What is the composition (e--e+ or e--p+) of those jets? c) What is the region of production of gamma-ray flares? What is their dominant very-high-energy emission mechanism? To attach these questions, a combination of astronomical observations and numerical simulations will be carried out for the interpretation of the multi-wavelength emission (at all available spectral range from very high energy gamma rays to radio), and linear and circularly polarized millimeter emission in a set of different AGN and in Sgr A * (the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way). With this, the student will infer the structure of the magnetic fields in the plasmas responsible for the emission, the composition of the plasmas, the emission models in all the ranges of the spectrum, and the density and magnetic field of the surrounding interstellar material.

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NEW OPENING FOR A SEVERO OCHOA PhD POSITION: "Tomography of solar photospheric magnetic fields using Solar Orbiter"

Deadline: 2019-11-07

IAA-CSIC offers a four years PhD contract in the framework of the Project “Severo Ochoa”. Candidates are expected to carry out their activity in the research line of solar physics. Supervisor: J.C. Del Toro Iniesta (jti@iaa.es) Solar photospheric magnetic fields are currently being monitored from the Earth point of view using ground-based and space-borne observatories. The Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager (PHI), a vector magnetograph on board the Solar Orbiter (SO) ESA mission whose launch is scheduled for February 2020, will be the first-ever instrument to provide measurements of solar magnetic fields at different angular spacings from Earth. SO/PHI, therefore, opens up a window of opportunity for unique science. With its two telescopes, a Full Disk Telescope (FDT) and a High Resolution Telescope (HRT), PHI will achieve 2 and 0.3 arcseconds spatial resolution at perihelion (0.3 AU) while providing high sensitivity, full spectropolarimetric measurements. Such vantage points will allow to perform stereoscopic measurements of solar magnetic fields. Stereoscopy is nothing but the three dimensional reconstruction of -in our particular case- magnetic fields, by combining SO/PHI measurements with those from other instruments on or orbiting Earth. The main goal of the study is to investigate the nature of magnetoconvection in the Sun by analyzing the three-dimensional temporal evolution of magnetic fields in different solar scenarios (quiet Sun, active regions and, for the very first time, the solar poles).

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NEW OPENING FOR A SEVERO OCHOA POSTDOC POSITION: "Star formation in the Galactic Centre"

Deadline: 2019-10-17

There is a new opening for a Severo Ochoa Postdoc position at the IAA, funded by the Severo Ochoa Excellence grant. Candidates are expected to carry out their activity in the research line of Star formation in the Milky Way and Local Universe. This is a two year position with the possibility of extending it for one year. Candidates should have a good familiarity with infrared high angular resolution observations of the Galactic centre; Expertise in stellar proper motion measurements from high angular resolution imaging; Track record of (observational) research on Galactic center science; Excellent knowledge of English

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NEW OPENING FOR A SEVERO OCHOA POSTDOC POSITION: "Milky way stellar streams"

Deadline: 2019-10-17

There is a new opening for a Severo Ochoa Postdoc position at the IAA, funded by the Severo Ochoa Excellence grant. Candidates are expected to carry out their activity in the research line of Star formation in the MIlky Way and Local Universe. This is a two year position. Candidates should have a PhD in Astrophysics, with experience in the study of resolved stellar populations in galaxies and precision photometry of wide fields.

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