Australian Gemini Undergraduate Summer studentships - intro

Due to the impending end of Australia's partnership in the Gemini Observatory, we regret to announce that the AGUSS program has now ended. We thank Astronomy Australia Ltd and the Gemini South staff for their support of this program over the past decade, and congratulate all the previous recipients of an AGUSS award for making this such a successful program.

Stuart Ryder, Head of International Telescopes Support, 22 June 2017.



Gemini South with laser

The twin Gemini telescopes are the among the most powerful optical/infra-red telescopes in the world. Australia is a partner in these telescopes, together with the USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Australian involvement in the Gemini Observatory is managed by the International Telescopes Support Office, hosted by the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Funding for the Australian Gemini Undergraduate Summer Studentships (AGUSS) scheme is provided by Astronomy Australia Ltd. (AAL) through a grant from the Commonwealth government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

We invite applications from Australian undergraduate students who would like to carry out a 10 week research project at the Gemini South observatory, located in the north of Chile. Students will carry out a research project under the supervision of Gemini Observatory staff. The International Telescopes Support Office will pay the return airfare from Australia to the town of La Serena, Chile, and provide a stipend of ~A$700 per week (gross, plus superannuation). We will also provide travel/medical insurance for the duration of the Studentship.

Details of the Studentships

It is expected that two studentships will be offered for the summer of 2016/17. They will last for ten weeks, from early-December until mid-February. They are open to undergraduate students who are Australian citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled at an Australian university who have completed at least two years of an undergraduate degree in Physics, Maths, Astronomy or Engineering (students currently studying for a Masters degree in one of these fields may be considered if their undergraduate degree was in a different field). AGUSS students will be temporarily appointed to the Australian Public Service and travel on an Official Passport, and must receive a security clearance.

In addition to carrying out a research project, the students may participate in lectures and social activities offered at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, jointly with a group of US and Chilean summer scholars. The students will spend a few nights each assisting with observations at the Gemini South telescope, and also visit the 6.5m Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory, on which Australian astronomers also have some observing time.

About Gemini South

The Gemini South telescope is located on the mountain of Cerro Pachon, in the Chilean Andes. It is equipped with the world's only multi-conjugate adaptive optics laser guide star system (GeMS), as well as a state-of-the-art exoplanet finder (GPI), plus "workhorse" optical and infrared cameras + spectrographs. The observatory has its headquarters in the nearby city of La Serena. The observatory will arrange accommodation for the students, usually within the observatory compound. When accommodation within the compound is unavailable, Gemini South will secure suitable private accommodation nearby. In either case rent will be the student's responsibility, but typically costs less than US$500 per month.