Astronomy (Hillwig)

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: There will be an opportunity for up to two students to work with Prof. Hillwig this summer (2012) as research assistants. The research involves observational study of the central stars of planetary nebulae, specifically close binary stars. Student involvement in the project will require reduction and analysis of photometric data, some remote observing with the SARA telescope, and possibly travel to observe on-site at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

LOCATION: The work will be performed primarily on the VU campus, with a possible observing trip to Arizona.

REQUIREMENTS: Students will primarily keep a day schedule, though some night-time observing will be expected. Familiarity with a computer is necessary. Experience with astronomical data reduction is preferred but not required. Students will use the image reduction program IRAF (Image Reduction and Analysis Facility). More advanced students may also use additional binary star modeling programs. Familiarity with the use of telescopes and CCDs is preferred but not a requirement. Other requirements are a willingness to work hard and carefully and a willingness to learn. Students will write and submit a report at the conclusion of the summer.

DATES & STIPEND: The summer appointment will normally be for 10 weeks. Starting and ending dates are negotiable. The salary will be approximately $410 per week, and it is anticipated that a VU award will cover university housing costs.  Confirmation of housing funds is expected by late March.

APPLICATION & DEADLINE:  Print and fill out the application form.

Interested applicants are encouraged to turn in completed applications as soon as possible. The deadline for completed applications is Wednesday, 29 February 2012. Evaluation of the applications will take place during the following few weeks and applicants will be notified by early April. Please contact if you have any questions.