Department of Physics and Astronomy, George Mason University


Postdoc Position Available


The Department of Physics and Astronomy at George Mason University is accepting applicants for the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) Simon Newcomb Postdoctoral Fellowship.  This position will be for an initial period of 2-years with an optional 3rd year and will be based at the USNO in Washington, D.C. The successful applicant will work closely with Dr. Nathan Secrest and other members of the Astrometry Department on ground-based photometric data of nearby active galactic nuclei (AGNs). This position will be for 50% self-directed research and 50% research and operational work in support of USNO.  The candidate will be expected to:


  1. Produce astronomical code to perform high precision differential astrometry and photometry on ground-based images of nearby AGNs, and produce simulations to verify the code.
  2. Active self-directed research program including proposing for and obtaining time on astronomical instruments, or computing facilities suitable to research goals and publication of papers
  3. An active role in the scientific culture of the observatory by contributing to journal clubs, colloquia, and professional seminars where appropriate


Preference will be given to applicants with experience/publications in one or more of the following areas:


Active galactic nuclei and associated physical processes

Image analysis and modeling techniques and/or computer vision.

Astrometry and photometry


Working at USNO provides unique exposure to astronomical applications that are marketable to industry, government agencies, and academia.  The wonderful academic partnership that USNO shares with GMU allows for access to students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and professors with potential for mentorships and collaborations.  USNO’s unique mission and access to resources including instrumentation, telescopes, and funding in support of research will provide a solid platform for early career researchers to grow.  USNO boasts a vibrant, rigorous scientific culture in support of our nation and is looking to mentor and foster a next generation of specialized skills in order to ensure continuation of its mission.


The applicant’s CV including a list of publications, a research statement, and the contact information of 3 or more references should be emailed to


USNO is committed to diversity and inclusion and we continually aim to provide a working environment completely free from any form of discrimination.  Applicants from underrepresented groups including women, underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, persons who identify with the LGBTQ+ community, etc., are strongly encouraged to apply. However, this position is open to US nationals only and the applicant must be able to obtain a SECRET level security clearance.


Position start is October 2020.


Salary: $85,000 per year plus a generous travel funding budget and publication charge support


Included Benefits:


Application Deadline: September 25, 2020


Selection Deadline: October 9, 2020


Current Status of Position: Accepting applications