Planetary-scale magnetic fields are a window to a planet's interior and provide shielding of the planet's atmosphere and surface for life. When coupled to energetic (keV) electrons, such as those produced by solar wind-magnetosphere interactions, the polar regions of a planetary magnetic field are the place of intense, coherent, circularly polarized cyclotron radio emissions. These emissions are produced by all magnetized planets in the solar system in the MHz range, and up to 40 MHz at Jupiter. Detection of similar emissions from exoplanets will provide constraints on the thermal state, composition, and dynamics of their interior.
The existence and the properties of a planet's magnetic field can be diagnosed using the lowest frequencies of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA is a global project to build a multi-purpose radio telescope that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology. The SKA is unlikely to be able to detect magnetic fields on terrestrial planets if they are of similar strength to the Earth's since they will emit at too low frequencies. Much more likely are detections of Jovian planets. Here there is considerable interest in the potential to detect exo-moons that are difficult to detect in any other way. Jovian moons leave an imprint on the pattern of auroral emission, which is then revealed as periodic modulation of the radio emission. This can be the case whether the exo-moon itself has a magnetic field (e.g. Ganymede) or not (e.g. Io). If the exo-moons are icy and magnetic then they also hold out the prospect of hosting biological activity.
The successful applicant is expected to do research on the magnetic fields of jovian planets and their interactions with stellar winds and eventual moons, in order to prepare the future SKA observations. He/she will be integrated in the ENGAGE SKA team and will have full access to its facilities. ENGAGE SKA is the Portuguese node for the ESFRI SKA project and leads the portuguese participation in the SKA. It is a Research Infrastructure included since 2013 in the National Roadmap of Research Infrastructures of Strategic Relevance. ENGAGE SKA promotes and fosters Science and Industry activities for radioastronomy capacitation and related areas.
Qualifications: Applicants must have a PhD degree in Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Solar Physics, or Geophysics (or related areas). Knowledge of Planet Interiors, Planetary Atmospheres, and/or Magnetohydrodynamics is preferred. Computational experience is required and a background in Exoplanets studies is a plus. Applications by researchers working on other research topics related to the field of exoplanets and SKA "Cradle of Life" will also be accepted and evaluated.
Application deadline: 2nd April 2018
Type of contract: 2 year Fellowship (plus 1 year option)
Net Salary: 1500 EUR / month (tax free)
Benefits include social security and 22 vacation days.
Job Reference: ESKA-BPD5
Candidates should send the applications to Prof. Alexandre Correia ([email protected]) before 2nd April 2018, with the following documents: 1. CV (including publication list) 2. A brief research plan (maximum 3 pages) 3. Cover Letter detailing the motivation and background for applying to this position. 4. Name and contact of 2 scientists who can provide a letter of recommendation. 5. Copy of all academic degrees, including the PhD certificate (in English or Portuguese).
Evaluation criteria: Selection of the candidates will be performed by evaluation of the CV, the research plan and of the other submitted documents (70%), followed by an interview (30%) of the top candidates. The interview is mandatory (optionally by teleconference). The candidates must have a very good review (larger than 16 in a scale of 0-20) in all evaluated items. The jury can decide to not select any candidate if their final grade is below 16.
Contacts and further information:
University of Aveiro: