Instrument Support Engineer/Scientist

Las Campanas Observatory (LCO), Chile. This is a full time position based at LCO, Chile.

The Carnegie Observatories, a department of the Carnegie Institution for Science and a non-profit, world-class astronomical institution with offices located in Pasadena, California, is seeking an engineer/scientist to work at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile in the role of instrumentation and operations support at the twin 6.5m Magellan telescopes. The Observatories operate the telescopes on behalf of a consortium of universities, as well as a suite of telescopes, 2.5 meter and smaller. The Las Campanas Observatory is located 160 km north of La Serena, Chile. 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. The successful candidate will be responsible for night time operation of a wide variety of instrumentation during scheduled engineering periods as well as the reduction, analysis, and documented monitoring of calibration observations. The candidate will be expected to contribute to the development, testing and use of data reduction pipelines; implementation and testing of new observing procedures and scripts as well as development of support tools for observing proposals. Other activities can include daytime maintenance and troubleshooting of instrument issues, optimisation of setup procedures, and participating in the commissioning of future instrumentation. Experience in troubleshooting, operation, and real time data analysis of astronomical instrumentation is essential.  The successful candidate will be the contact point for visiting/remote observers, assisting them in optimizing their observing programs, developing documentation for software and astronomical instruments as needed, including the update of the manuals and the ETC.  

The position is an operations support role nominally spending at least 10 nights per month on site at the observatory with the remainder of his/her time devoted to remote support duties, data analysis, and documentation. The Engineer/Scientist will report directly to Dr. Konstantina Boutsia, Magellan Instrumentation Scientist.


  • An advanced degree in astronomy, physics or engineering.
  • Experience in troubleshooting, operation, and real time data analysis of astronomical instrumentation is essential.
  • Computing expertise in a Mac OSX /Linux environment including substantial experience with IDL, IRAF, Python and/or similar high level programming is necessary.
  • Ability to communicate and cooperate in a team environment.
  • Full command of English is required as clear communication with off-site instrument teams is of paramount importance; knowledge of Spanish is an asset.
  • Ability to work at altitudes above 2300 meters.
  • Flexible schedule to be coordinated with the supervisor 
  • Organizational skills as well as the ability to learn quickly and show above-average initiative. 
  • A valid driver’s license 

Application Process:

Carnegie is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Complete job description is contained in this advertisement – no phone calls please. Email address for inquiries about job:

Only electronic applications submitted through our website will be considered. Thank you for submitting your application by clicking 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).

Applicants are encouraged to apply by November 25, 2022, when application review will begin. However, the position will remain open until filled. Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted.

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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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