Local Project Scientist Astronomy, Physics, Computer Science - Software Engineering, Spectroscopy (m/f/d)

The Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE; http://www.mpe.mpg.de) is a world-leading institute in space- and ground-based experimental astrophysics. Among others, we are presently working on the current and the next generation of X-ray telescopes (eROSITA/SRG and Athena), the European Space Agency (ESA) Euclid mission, as well as on several state-of-the-art instruments for the largest telescopes in the world, including the European Southern Observatory Telescopes (ESO/VLT/VISTA) in Chile, the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona, USA.

In order to support its involvement in the 4MOST project (4-meter Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope, www.4most.eu), the High Energy Group at MPE seeks a highly motivated

4MOST Local Project Scientist/Software Engineer

Ref. 25/2019


4MOST is a highly multiplexed, wide field, high throughput fiber-fed optical spectrograph, which will be installed at the ESO/VISTA telescope at Paranal, Chile in 2022, supporting, among others, the imminent eROSITA all-sky X-ray survey, and the ESA Galactic mapping mission, Gaia. The spectroscopic information provided by 4MOST will be vital in order to maximize the scientific impact from these two flagship space missions.

MPE is responsible for the 4MOST Operations System, which will enable smooth and optimized execution of the proposed survey programs. MPE will also lead the 4MOST eROSITA follow-up surveys of hundreds of thousands AGN and Galaxy Clusters.

The successful candidate will work within a small team at MPE, leading the implementation of the 4MOST Operations System, building upon the existing design. She/he will be responsible for liaising with the Project Office, and the science survey management on meeting science requirement in the software development. The 4MOST Operations System will include the following major components: an advanced Facility Simulator, a Survey Monitor Tool, an Observation Block design tool, a Survey Scheduling tool, an Exposure Time Calculator and a Target/Operational Database.

The ideal candidate will have the following characteristics:

  • Good knowledge of software design and programming principles
  • Experience in the software development cycle, managing, designing and building complex software systems that involve both server-side and user-facing components and their interconnections
  • Good management and communication skills

In addition, the following skills and experiences will be an asset:

  • Previous involvement in software development for ESO or other successful astronomical projects
  • Knowledge of astronomical instrumentation and observational techniques in astrophysics (particularly spectroscopy) and some knowledge of scheduling, creating, submitting and verifying Observing Blocks, in particular within the ESO system
  • Experience with the Git version control system
  • Experience in database design and management
  • Experience designing and/or implementing secure interfaces between software components and databases
The candidate is expected to have a PhD in Astronomy, Physics, or Computer Science. An excellent command of the English language is essential.

We offer

The position is available immediately, and for a period of three years, with possible extension of one year afterwards. The salary is based on the standard German TVöD scale for civil servants (with gross annual pre-tax income including health insurance contribution in the range 55.000 EUR to 65.000 EUR, depending on experience).

Applicants should submit their documents (in English, and in PDF form) online including a CV, a list of publications, and a detailed list of IT and computing experience, by December 20st, 2019.
Review will begin soon after that date, but later applications may be considered if received before the selection process is completed. Three referees should be identified, who can provide letters of recommendation upon request.


Prospective applicants can contact Dr. A. Merloni for further information (phone: +49-89-30000-3893; email: am@mpe.mpg.de ).

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: 25/2019

About Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik

Das Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik wurde 1963 als Teilinstitut des Max-Planck-Instituts für Physik und Astrophysik in München gegründet. 1991 wurde es zu einem selbstständigen Institut.
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