Astronomer / Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observer

Application deadline
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Reference number
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RHEA Group is a growing international company, focusing on providing innovative, market-ready solutions and services in our key sectors of Space and Security for both commercial and institutional customers. We employ over 500 staff working across 10 different countries. We work with distinguished clients such as the European Space Agency, EUMETSAT, NATO, European Commission, Canadian Government and national space agencies.

When you work for RHEA, you will have the opportunity to work alongside some of the best talented minds and experts in our industries, either working at our clients sites on some of the most exciting space missions or on cutting-edge projects in security, concurrent design, data  and ground systems within our own offices.

To attract the best candidates, RHEA offers our employees competitive remuneration packages, unique career opportunities, individualised training and development programmes and local relocation support to take the stress out moving to another country or city. We are recruiting now. We understand your concerns during this period of a global pandemic and we will work with you, at your pace ensuring your questions are answered and maximum flexibility is offered.

We are currently looking for an Astronomer / Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observer to work in the beautiful city of Frascati, Italy.

You will support and coordinate observational activities of the NEOCC, with a particular focus on scientific data analysis and/or instrumentation-related activities. You will be working at ESA's NEO Coordination Centre (NEOCC), located inside ESA's ESRIN centre in Frascati, Italy.

Tasks and Activities
  • Support the testing, integration and commissioning of the Flyeye telescope. In particular: review and update documentation, analyse test image data, preparation of test and commissioning plans, participation in factory and site acceptance tests.
  • In cooperation with the Space Debris team, use the two Test-Bed Telescopes for survey and follow-up observations.
  • Set up a ‘near-Sun’ survey for the Test-Bed Telescope #2, which is planned to become operational in Chile in 2020.
  • Remote scheduling the Flyeye telescope and ensure proper data analysis.
  • On-call support for the Flyeye operations.
  • Preparation and coordination of astrometric observations of NEOs for all collaborating telescopes.
  • Preparation of an observing plan for faint NEOs from the risk list for ESO’s Very Large Telescope, coordination with ESO to get the observations done.
  • Perform astrometric measurements when needed.
  • Coordinate with other observing programmes, e.g. of the US, or the EU-funded NEOROCKS activity.
  • Support the preparation of physical properties observations of NEOs, when needed.
  • Support all observation-related discussions in the Planetary Defence office.
  • Inform the observations manager of any issues.
  • Present observational successes at conferences and workshops.
  • The activities will mostly be done during nominal working hours; however, you are expected to do night and/or week-end shifts, such as:
    • Typically, 4 nights per months are dedicated to the use of ESA's OGS telescope.
    • At least once per month urgent observations require a (partial) night shift.
    • Part of the Flyeye testing, integration, commissioning and/or calibration campaigns will be carried out at night.
    • On-call service for the Flyeye operations: you may be contacted in case of emergency, e.g. you may be required to restart or update the foreseen schedule.
    • Most of the observations are executed remotely. However, you shall also be ready to travel to participate to relevant meetings and observational campaigns if required.


Skills and Experience
  • Degree in astronomy, astrophysics, physics or closely related fields.
  • Expertise in optical detector system integration, test and validation.
  • Expertise in data reduction and calibration of detector system.
  • Familiarity in using telescopes.
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