US Naval Observatory (Washington, DC)

US Naval Observatory

Program Dates: TBD

A Permanent Resident Alien is eligible to apply to this lab. Dual Citizens are eligible to apply to this lab.


The U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) provides astronomical and timing data required by the Navy and other components of the Department of Defense for navigation, precise positioning, and command, control, and communications.

To support these responsibilities, the observatory carries out vigorous programs of research, instrument development, and astronomical observations.

Established in 1830, the observatory is one of the oldest scientific organizations in the Federal Government.

Today, USNO is one of the preeminent authorities in the world in astrometry, Earth rotation measurement, precise time, fundamental reference frames, and solar system dynamics.

USNO is a small institution, with a total technical staff of about 60 in Washington. The technical staff is all civilian, with a high proportion of Ph.D.s in astronomy and physics. Astronomical observations are carried out in Washington and remote facilities.

Washington is home to the 0.7-meter (26-inch) refracting telescope, the U.S. Master Clock (an ensemble of over 70 atomic frequency standards), an experimental atomic “fountain” clock, and the Mark 4 VLBI correlator.

The USNO library, one of the most complete astronomical libraries in the world, is also located in Washington. Many USNO programs involve partnerships with other national or foreign laboratories and international organizations. Most research programs are unclassified and results are published in the open professional literature.

Current areas of active research involve all-sky astrometric surveys (ground- and space-based), stellar dynamics and astrophysics, binary star orbits, long-baseline radio and optical interferometry, 2D sensor arrays (optical and near-infrared), speckle interferometry, Earth rotation dynamics, astronomical reference frames, astrometry and dynamics of solar system objects, artificial satellite orbits, photometric standards, planetary nebulae, quasar structure monitoring, atomic clock development, clock ensemble characterization and control, satellite 2-way time transfer, numerical and statistical techniques, and automated daytime stellar imaging.