LCO Instrument & Operations Support Specialist 

The Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) of the Carnegie Institution for Science Observatories – a world-class astronomical institution – is seeking an engineer/scientist to work in the role of instrumentation and operations support at the twin 6.5m Magellan telescopes. LCO operates the telescopes on behalf of a consortium of universities, as well as a suite of telescopes, 2.5 meter and smaller. LCO offices and administrative headquarters are in the city of La Serena, while the observatory facilities are located in the Andes mountains 150 km north of La Serena.  The site is one of the finest on the planet in terms of natural seeing, enabling the Magellan telescopes to regularly achieve 0.5 arcsec FWHM image quality or better.


Job Description:

The successful candidate will work in a team of scientists, engineers and technicians to maintain and support operation of the 8+ Facility Instruments deployed between the two 6.5 meter Magellan Telescopes. Experience in troubleshooting, operation, and real time data analysis of astronomical instrumentation is essential. The support engineer/scientist will be responsible for the maintenance and correct functioning of a wide variety of instrumentation, the startup of the telescopes and the smooth transition from daytime to night time operations, providing afternoon and evening support for visiting/remote astronomers as needed. The successful candidate will also be responsible for afternoon setup and support during scheduled engineering periods. The candidate will be expected to contribute to the update and maintenance of instrument manuals, operation procedures and software, document troubleshooting methods for known issues, establish best practice procedures and report daily activities.

The work responsibilities correspond to a nominal shift of 8 days at the Observatory and 6 days off. This is a full-time position based at LCO, Chile.


  • A degree in physics, astronomy, or engineering, and a strong familiarity with instrument operations modes and calibration techniques. Working experience in astroengineering, astronomical instrumentation and/or telescope operations is desirable.
  • Computing expertise in a Mac OSX environment including substantial experience with Linux, IDL, IRAF, and Python is desirable..


  • Ability to communicate and cooperate in a team environment and to speak and write effectively, including technical reports and protocol documents
  • Fluency in written and spoken English. Knowledge of Spanish is an asset.
  • Valid driver’s license (Chilean B)
  • Ability to work at 2300 meters

Application Process:

Carnegie is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Complete job description is contained in this advertisement – no phone calls please. Only electronic applications submitted through our website will be considered. Thank you for submitting your application by clicking on the “Apply Now’ button below:

Please, necessarily include in the application form, the desired salary range.

Note: The hiring will be through a national contract in Chile, at the Las Campanas Observatory. Therefore, you must be able to be authorized to work in Chile (Chilean nationality, residence visa or visa subject to a work contract).

Application review will begin on 06 January 2022 and continue until the position is filled.

Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted.

At Carnegie, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We believe academic environments should be places where diverse groups of people with a variety of viewpoints and ideas can thrive and work together. As such, we encourage applicants from under-represented groups and backgrounds to apply.

The Carnegie Institution is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration of employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, veteran status or any other protected group status.


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