Astronomy master student for LOFAR science operations

Vacature van Astron

  • Astron
  • Dwingeloo
  • WO
  • 6 maanden

Are you an Astronomy Master student who is interested to acquire experience in an operational environment to scientifically operate LOFAR? And do you want to develop skills and novel experimental methods on systems using technologies that produce cutting-edge science now and contribute to the development of the SKA? Then we have the following opportunity available.

Job description

In this position you will interact with the operational personnel at ASTRON and with the PI’s of scientific projects awarded observing time at the telescope. The tasks of the job may involve:

  • preparing the observing and processing templates after proposal acceptance by using the newly developed Telescope Manager Specification System of LOFAR;
  • responding to, referring, and following up on first line basic user queries submitted through the helpdesk. These may range from support with interpreting the telescope data to handling it through the LOFAR reduction software;
  • generating and updating documentation related to the instrument capabilities and operational procedures;
  • assessing the quality of the final products generated by the automatic pipelines in the Long-term Archive (LTA) and providing informative summaries;
  • support scientists in data access.

You will be given a mentor and will acquire an inside knowledge and understanding of various aspects of the operations of LOFAR. You will follow a training during the first four weeks of the appointment (the exact duration of the training will depend on your experience) that will expose you to the capabilities of the system. It is expected that towards the end of this period you will be able to take over operational tasks from the ASTRON personnel, who will still provide supervision and exposure to increasingly more involved operational tasks.

Job requirements

  • a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy and enrollment as master student at a Dutch University;
  • experience working with radioastronomical data;
  • knowledge of interferometry;
  • good communication skills (written and verbal);
  • ability to learn new systems quickly;
  • prior experience with handling LOFAR data is beneficial.

It is requested that you can be available for the job for a minimum of three days per week and for four hours per day. Availability in the first part of the day is preferred. You will discuss the detailed schedule of your regular working hours with your supervisor.

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement Research Institutes.

We offer:

  • A part-time appointment of minimum 12 hours per week, in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I), for the duration of a minimum of six months. After this period, it will be established whether an extension is mutually beneficial.
  • A gross monthly salary of € 2,310 on a full-time basis
  • A holiday allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.33% of the gross annual salary.
  • A solid pension scheme (ABP).
  • 42 vacation days per year on a full-time basis.

The Organisation

ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Its main mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen, via the development of new and innovative technologies, the operation of world-class radio astronomy facilities, and the pursuit of fundamental astronomical research. Engineers and astronomers at ASTRON have an outstanding international reputation for novel technology development, and fundamental research in galactic and extra-galactic astronomy. ASTRON is part of the institute organization of NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research).


More information about ASTRON can be found on our websites and

For more information about this position, please contact Roberto Pizzo, Head Science Data Center Operations, , e-mail:


You can apply for this position on You are requested to upload a motivation letter and a cv. All applications received before the deadline of 9 April 2021 will be considered in full by the selection panel.

Hoe solliciteren?

Stuur een e-mail naar Roberto Pizzo (

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