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Extrasolar Planets: November 2010


The School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) at Arizona State University is seeking new faculty expertise in the study of the nature, formation, and evolution of extrasolar planets. Applicants with both observational and theoretical interests are being sought. Specific research areas might include but are not limited to: spectroscopy of planets and their host stars, novel techniques for searching for and characterizing exoplanets, planetary interior modeling, and planetary dynamics. The School is particularly interested in hiring faculty at the Assistant or Associate Professor level who aspire to leadership positions in large-scale space- and/or ground-based research initiatives like those recently articulated in the 2010 NRC Decadal Survey in Astronomy and Astrophysics ("New Worlds, New Horizons"). The successful candidate's appointment may begin as early as August 15, 2011.

Established in 2006, SESE is one of the fastest growing academic programs at one of the fastest growing institutions of higher learning in the United States. An essential part of its mission is a transformative integration of disciplines such as biogeochemistry, astrophysics, geophysics, cosmology, volcanology, hydrology, geology, and systems engineering to address the grand challenges in earth and space sciences. Faculty in SESE have full access to the Arizona Observatory facilities, including the 6.5m MMT at Mt Hopkins, the two 6.5m Magellan telescopes in Chile, the 2.3m Bok and 1.8m VATT telescopes, the 2x8.4m LBT at Mt Graham, and the 10m Heinrich Hertz Submillimeter Telescope. Access to the 22m Giant Magellan Telescope is anticipated upon its completion. In addition, SESE faculty benefit from a variety of state-of-the-art facilities on the Tempe AZ campus, including high-bay assembly clean rooms, in the School's new building opening in Spring 2012.

Applications should include: 1) a cover letter that includes a description of the applicant's research and teaching interests and experience; 2) a current CV; and 3) the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references. All materials should be submitted electronically, in PDF format, through the school's website: http://sese.asu.edu/opportunities-faculty Application reviews will begin on November 1 and continue until the position is filled. To ensure full consideration, we encourage submission of complete applications no later than December 1, 2010. [Source: NAI]

A team of planet hunters, including scientists from the NASA Astrobiology Institute's teams at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, has announced the discovery of a planet with three times the mass of Earth orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star's "habitable zone," an area where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface. If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered, and the first strong case for a potentially habitable world outside our solar system. The team's new findings are reported in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. For more information: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/gliese_581_feature.html [Source: NAI]