News 2008 - Gaia
Euro-VO: Virtual Observatory School
The EURO-VO project in the framework of the EURO-VO Astronomical Infrastructure for Data Access (AIDA), is organising an international School at ESO, Garching bei Muenchen, Germany (30 March - 2 April 2009). The goals of the School are to expose European astronomers to the variety of VO tools and services available today so that they can use them efficiently for their own research. Deadline for registration is February 15, 2009. For more details, visit the workshop's web page.
Vacancy notice: position at ESAC (Madrid)
There is currently a post open (starting next summer) for an optical engineer to join the Calibration team at ESAC. Interested parties can contact Ralf Kohley or William O'Mullane. Closing date: January 26, 2009.
IMCCE position deadline postponed
Deadline of the previous job announcement at IMCCE has been postponed. The IMCCE/Paris Observatory invites applications for a Software Engineer to work on the development and maintenance of applications to be developed at IMCCE within DPAC, the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium. More details, in French, are available at IMCCE. New closing date: December 10, 2008.
Gaia SIM meeting
Gaia SIM meeting took place 6-7 November 2008 in London. The meeting was focused on the science cases achievable in the astrometry domain below 10 microarcsec accuracy. The main purpose of the meeting was to present the science topics that will be addressed with the high accuracy Gaia astrometry data. This will help the SIM scientists to prepare their unique science cases in support of their project. The Gaia presentations can be found here.
Database Workshop 2009
Database Workshop 2009 is intended for people interested in databases and their use in the data processing of Gaia. It will take place at ESAC, Madrid, 9-10 February 2009. First day is advised for beginners: introduction of concepts and examples to get familiar with Oracle, MySQL and other databases. Second day is advised for advanced users: performance and tips. The number of attendants is limited to 15-20 people. More information can be found at the following link.
Vacancy notice: Position at the Observatory of Bologna (Italy) to work on Gaia calibration
The Gaia team at the Observatory of Bologna has a vacant position for a Master or a PhD graduate with expertise in calibration of photometric and spectroscopic instrumentation. Within the Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, CU5 is responsible for the treatment of the G-band integrated photometry and for the low-resolution BP/RP spectrophotometry. The Bologna group investigates the scientific models for the absolute calibration of the instrument and, with the teams in Barcelona and Groningen, is engaged in the ground-based observations needed for the definition and construction of the grid of spectrophotometric standars stars. The candidate should have experience in the observations, treatment and flux calibration of photometric and spectroscopic data. The contract for this position, supported by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), is initially for one year and is renewable for up to 4 years. The starting date will be 2 January 2009. The official announcement and forms, in Italian, can be found at the following link. For further information and help in compiling the Italian forms, please contact Elena Pancino. Closing date for applications is 28 November 2008.
Vacancy notice: Software Developer Engineer (IMCCE/Paris Observatory, France)
The IMCCE/Paris Observatory invites applications for a Software Engineer to work on the development and maintenance of applications to be developed at IMCCE within DPAC, the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium. More details, in French, are available at IMCCE. Closing date: November 24, 2008.
Second announcement of the IAU Symposium 261
The preparations for the IAU Symposium 261 "Relativity in Fundamental Astronomy: Dynamics, Reference frames, and Data Analysis" which will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, 27 April - 1 May 2009 are progressing very well. Updated information about the Symposium is now available in the following link. The preliminary scientific program, including invited talks, is given on the website. If you are interested in giving a contributed talk, presenting a poster or attending, please check the deadlines on the web page.
Vacancy notice: Software Developer Engineer (IoA, Cambridge)
We are seeking to fill a new post (possibly two depending on funding) for a Software Engineer to join the development team working at the Institute of Astronomy, which has a leading role in development of the data processing and analysis system for ESA's Gaia mission. The post requires an exceptional individual with knowledge and experience of software development using Java, C++, Python or other similar languages and carries responsibility for the design and development of code modules within the processing system which will handle the photometric analysis of the Gaia photometric data. In particular you will be involved in the team developing the internal photometric calibration for Gaia, and thus develop modules concerned with the large scale calibration, application of those calibrations, and calibration of the spectro-photometric data. More details are available in the following link. The closing date for applications is 20 November 2008.
Vacancy notice: Post-doctoral position in automatic stellar classification
The Observatory of the Côte d'Azur (Nice, France) calls for applications to a postdoctoral position to work on the automatic classification of the stellar spectra collected by ESO instruments. The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with P. de Laverny, A. Recio-Blanco, V. Hill and A. Bijaoui, members of the Gaia group of the Côte d'Azur Observatory. In this group, a specific algorithm is developed (MATISSE, Recio-Blanco et al., 2006, MNRAS, 370, 461) in order to automatically derive the stellar atmospheric parameters and chemical abundances from spectra collected with current instruments or future ones, such as the Gaia/RVS. In the framework of a collaborative work with ESO, this algorithm will be applied to the ESO stellar spectra in order to provide to the whole astronomical community the stellar parameters together with the reduced spectra directly from the ESO archives. More details are available in the following link. The closing date for applications is 10 December 2008.
Report of the ESA-ESO working group on Galactic Populations, Chemistry and Dynamics
The main task of this Working Group has been to review the state-of-the-art knowledge of the Milky Way galaxy, to identify the future challenges, and to propose which tools would be needed to successfully tackle and solve the remaining questions. This Working Group has made recommendations that should allow dissecting our backyard laboratory, the Galaxy, even further. ESO survey telescopes about to come operational and the upcoming ESA Gaia mission are a guarantee for opening new horizons and making new discoveries. The main recommendations this Working Group has made to ESA and ESO are to guarantee the expected tremendous capabilities of these new facilities, to vigourously organise their synergies and to jointly give ways to European astronomers to be leaders in the exploitation of their output data. The publication is available in the following link.
Call for "Expressions of Interest" in participating in the Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training (GREAT) ESF Research Network Proposal
The ESA Gaia community are aiming to facilitate the scientific use of the Gaia satellite in addressing a wide range of key topics in astronomy. With this in mind a steering committee consisting of members from the ESA Gaia Science Team and from the Gaia Data Processing Consortium Executive has been formed to organise a community proposal to support a Science Network (funded by the European Science Foundation) which will address the scientific issues in which Gaia will have a major impact. This network will fund community training events, workshops, exchange visits, and thus help build collaborative scientific cooperation across Europe and the wider world in turn delivering major advances in science. At this stage the community is invited to "Express an Interest" in joining in this effort. Full details of the "Expressions of Interest" call are available at the GREAT website. Contact email is also available. The deadline for response is Friday 26 September 2008.
Workshop: Earth-based support to Gaia Solar System science (Beaulieu sur Mer, France - 27 & 28 October)
Gaia has the potential of changing our view of the Solar System, and of the asteroid population in particular. Due to the peculiar characteristics of those bodies, and to their physical description, Earth-based observations can play a major role for complementing Gaia data. The preparation and the optimization of ground-based complementary observations requires a good understanding of the expected Gaia results, and an international coordination effort. All interested people are convened for a first reflection on the subject. For more information, see the workshop webpage. Deadline for registration is 19 September 2008.
Vacancy notice: Gaia position at Geneva Observatory (Switzerland)
The Geneva Observatory invites applications for a position to work on preparations for the Gaia data processing. The successful candidate will develop algorithms for classifying and analysing photometric and radial velocity times series of astronomical sources. The work involves: statistics; basic research into machine learning algorithms; software development, testing and documentation; application of classification algorithms to simulated and real data; analysis of results; publication of methods and scientific results. More details can be found via web. The closing date for applications is 15 September 2008.
First announcement of IAU Symposium No. 261
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) will hold the symposium "Relativity in Fundamental Astronomy. Dynamics, Reference Frames and Data Analysis" on 27 April - 1 May 2009 in Virginia Beach (USA). Principal topics are: astronomical reference frames in relativistic framework, relativistic modelling of observational data, astronomical tests of relativity, relativistic dynamical modelling, relativity in astrodynamics and space navigation, modern observational techniques in fundamental astronomy, time measurement and time scales, astronomical constants and units of measurements. Deadline to submit abstracts for presentations is 30 November 2008. For more information, see the announcement web page.
Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 248 online
Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union Symposium No. 248 are now available online. IAU Symposium No. 248 was titled "A Giant Step: From Milli- to Micro- Arcsecond Astrometry" and was held in Shanghai, China Nanjing (15-19 October 2007).
Vacancy notice: Gaia software engineer at Heidelberg (Germany)
The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) invites applications for a Gaia software engineer to support the development of data analysis software. The position is available from 1 October 2008. More details can be found via web. The closing date for applications is 1 September 2008.
I-science for astronomy workshop at Leiden
I-science workshop on data mining, distributed computing and visualization for astronomy will be held at the Lorentz Center, Leiden, 13 - 17 October 2008. This workshop is aimed mainly at advanced master students, graduate students and postdocs to stimulate the interaction between computer scientists and astronomers by exploring innovative astronomical applications for data mining, data modelling, distributed computing and visualization. For more information see the announcement document. Closing date for registration is 15 September 2008.
ELSA PhD position available at Barcelona
The Research Training Network ELSA invites applications for a PhD (postgraduate) study fellowship at the Departament d'Astronomia i Meteorologia, University of Barcelona (Spain) to work on Refinement of the Universe model in the Gaia simulator. This is a 3-4 year, full-time position open for non-Spanish nationals. Applications should be submitted by e-mail according to instructions on the ELSA web pages. Closing date for applications is 30 June 2008.
Vacancy notice: Software engineer/software developer at Heidelberg (Germany)
The Gaia group at Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI), Heidelberg, is offering a position for a software engineer/software developer. The successful applicant will participate in the development of the Gaia First Look and other Gaia core processing tasks. Basic knowledge of German is expected. The position is available from August 1, 2008. More details (in German) can be found via web. Deadline for applications: 25 June 2008.
Vacancy notice: Data analysis and algorithm development postdoc positions (Heidelberg, Germany)
The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) invites applications for two postdoctoral positions to work on the development of classification and parameter estimation algorithms in preparation for Gaia. 75% of the time will be spent developing and testing algorithms and implementing them into software. The remaining 25% may be spent working on related science projects. For more information see the announcement web page. Closing date for applications is 1 September 2008.
Testing Workshop at Toulose
CU1 is preparing a workshop focused on Software Test Plans/Reports at Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees (OMP), Toulouse. It will be held on 15 - 16 July and is intended for people interested in the testing within DPAC and especially for those in charge of writing the Software Test Plans and Software Test Reports (by the end of cycle 5, the Test Plans must have been submitted). It encompasses not only CU STP/STR writers, but also DPC members that will be involved in their DPC testing activities. Further details can be found on the workshop site.
New Gaia Spacecraft Operations Manager
From the 1st of June, David Milligan is the successor of Andreas Rudolph as the new Gaia Spacecraft Operations Manager. David joined ESOC in 2000 and has been working on the Smart 1, Envisat, Sentinel-3 and ERS2 missions. His previous assignment was as ERS2 Spacecraft Operations Manager.
Vacancy notice: DPAC Project Management
The scientific chairman and the executive committee of the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) are to be supported by the so-called Project Office, to which the day-to-day management of the overall DPAC development and operations is delegated. Four positions will presently become open to populate the Project Office at ESAC, Villafranca, Madrid, Spain: The Project Coordinator (also head of Project Office), the Project Scheduler, the Interface Engineer and the Product Assurance Engineer. All details for applicants can be found in the following document and links therein. Closing date for applications is 30 June 2008.
Vacancy notice: Postdoc position available at Observatory of Bologna (Italy)
The candidate should have experience in the observations, treatment and flux calibration of photometric and spectroscopic data. The contract is for one year with the possibility of an extension of up to 4 years. The starting date will be in September - October 2008. The Italian official announcement and forms can be found in the following link. For further information and help in compiling the Italian forms, please contact Elena Pancino. Closing date for applications is 15 June 2008.
Vacancy notice: DPAC Project Management
The scientific chairman and the executive committee of the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) are to be supported by the so-called Project Office, to which the day-to-day management of the overall DPAC development and operations is delegated. Four positions will presently become open to populate the Project Office at ESAC, Villafranca, Madrid, Spain: The Project Coordinator (also head of Project Office), the Project Scheduler, the Interface Engineer and the Product Assurance Engineer. All details for applicants can be found in the following document and links therein. Closing date for applications is 1 June 2008.
Signature of the Multilateral Agreement concerning Gaia Data Processing
The Multilateral Agreement (MLA) among the European Space Agency, the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt E.V., the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, the Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Astronomie, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Swedish National Space Board was signed in Paris, on 14 February 2008, and in Leiden, on 19 February 2008. The MLA shall remain in force until ten years after launch of Gaia, or until 31 December 2022, whichever comes first, unless extended by written agreement of the Parties. In the picture, you can see some of the people involved in the agreement (from left to right: F. Casoli, P. Román Fernández, K.F. Wakker, M. Cropper, G.F. Bignami, L. Nordh, T. Galinski, W. Verschueren, W. Benz. In the front: D. Southwood and F. Favata).
ELSA Postdoc fellowship available at Leiden Observatory
The Research Training Network ELSA invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship at Leiden Observatory, Leiden (The Netherlands), to work on Improved attitude modelling for scanning astrometric space missions. This is a 2 year, full-time position starting no later than 1 October 2008, open for non-Dutch nationals. Applications should be submitted by e-mail according to instructions on the ELSA web pages. Closing date for applications is 14 April 2008.
Workshop on Techniques for Scientific Mission Monitoring and Data Analysis
ZARM (Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity) at Bremen University is preparing a workshop with the title "Satellite dynamics: Modelling, In-Orbit Calibration and Data Processing - A Workshop on Techniques for Scientific Mission Monitoring and Data Analysis" to be held on 21 - 23 May, 2008 at ZARM, Bremen, Germany. The primary goal is to share knowledge between different missions and fields of science in order to allow the identification of similarities and the transfer of ideas, approaches, methodologies and techniques between the various fields. The focus will be more on the methodology and the techniques applied for scientific quality monitoring and data processing rather than on the scientific result of a mission. Further details can be found on the workshop website. The deadline for abstracts is 31 March, 2008.
Vacancy notice: Position at the University of Barcelona to work on Gaia calibration
The Gaia team at the University of Barcelona (UB) has a vacant position for a PhD graduate with expertise in calibration of photometric and spectroscopic instrumentation. Within the Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, CU5 is responsible for the G-band photometric reduction (sensitivity, detection of variability), and for the low-resolution spectra BP/RP (sensitivity, geometry, wavelength scale). The UB group investigates the scientific models for internal calibration of the instrument and, with the teams in Bologna and Groningen, it is engaged in the ground-based observations needed for the absolute flux calibration. The UB is also responsible for the selection of the standard sources for the internal calibration. The contract for this position, supported by the Spanish Space National Plan, is initially for one year and it is renewable as long as the Gaia project is active. The starting date shall be May 1, 2008. Those interested should send a CV to Lola Balaguer. Professional referees and motivation letter will be also taken into account for the selection. For additional information, please contact Carme Jordi.
Gaia Object Generator web service launched
The Gaia Object Generator (GOG) web service has been deployed at CNES and is now available for use. GOG, a product of CU2, is designed to simulated catalogue data and main database data, including mission final products, for the Gaia mission. This new web service allows users to run GOG simulations on a third-party machine (at CNES) and to download the results when the simulations are complete. (GOG is also available as a standalone application.) Further details, including instructions on how to subscribe to this service, are available from the dedicated web site: http://gaia-gog.cnes.fr.
Gaia Calibration Working Group kick-off meeting
The Gaia Calibration Working Group has been constituted with representatives from ESA, Astrium and DPAC to revise and discuss calibration issues for Gaia, and will be chaired by Alessandro Atzei and Ralf Kohley. The kick-off meeting of this working group will take place at ESAC on the 22nd of February. For further information please contact Ralf Kohley.
ELSA PhD position available at Nice
The Research Training Network ELSA invites applications for a PhD (postgraduate) study fellowship at Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Nice (France), to work on Automatic stellar classification for Gaia. This is a 2.5 year, full-time position starting on 1 May 2008, open for non-French nationals. Applications should be submitted by e-mail according to instructions on the ELSA web pages. Closing date for applications is 16 March 2008.
Announcement for Java Workshop - Java08 - 16-19 June
The Gaia SOC is organising a Java Workshop for DPAC members to be held at ESAC on 16-19 June. The workshop format will be similar to that of the previous successful workshops, i.e. a two-day 'crash course' dealing with tools commonly used by Gaia developers (subversion, Ant, Eclipse, Java, GaiaTools, Data Access Layer, etc.) followed by a two-day informal advanced workshop touching on a number of specific topics (participants can request specific topics). Further details can be found on the GaiaWiki.
Gaia ground segment SRR completed
The System Requirements Review (SRR) for the Gaia ground segment has concluded. The final Board Report (available in Livelink) recognises the good status of the ground segment and concludes that, subject to the completion of all actions, the review objectives have been fully met. In addition to this final report the SOC/DPAC SRR panel report and SOC/DPAC SRR board report are also available from Livelink.
Vacancy notice: Software Engineer for Gaia Data Processing system development at Mullard Space Science Lab, University College London.
As part of the significant MSSL/UCL involvement in ESA's Gaia mission, a new post is available for a Software Engineer to join the team developing the core spectroscopic algorithms for the mission data processing. Knowledge and experience of software development using Java, C++ or other object-oriented languages and techniques is essential. A good degree in a numerate subject is required. Previous experience in algorithm development within team-based projects is desirable. The successful applicant will be a member of the MSSL team developing scientific data processing software for the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC). S/he will design and develop code modules within the processing chains that will determine radial velocities from the Gaia spectroscopic data. The post is initially for 3 years with possible extensions. Further information and details on how to apply can be found online. Closing date for applications is 22 February 2008.
Vacancy notice: Scientific community support position in the Gaia Team at ESTEC
The Gaia Project Scientist's Team has a vacancy for a position to support the Gaia scientific community. The successful candidate will be based at ESTEC, The Netherlands, and will be expected to support the day-to-day activities of the SOC and DPAC by acting as Information Manager within the team, ensuring access for SOC/DPAC to the resources provided by the Project Scientist, supporting activities in the domain of outreach (to the Gaia scientific community, the wider scientific community and the public-at-large) within the boundaries established by the existing ESA infrastructure. Interested candidates should contact the Project Scientist, Timo Prusti, as soon as possible. The successful candidate should be available to start in March 2008. This position is now closed to new applications.