LCO Instrument Specialist

The Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) of the Carnegie Institution for Science Observatories - a world-class astronomical institution - is seeking an engineer/specialist to work in the role of instrumentation specialist 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 160 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.

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Job Description:

The successful candidate will work in a team of scientists, engineers and technicians to maintain and support operation of a suite of Facility and P.I. 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/specialist will be responsible for the maintenance and correct functioning of a wide variety of instrumentation (active and stored in the auxiliary building); as well as related systems, like cryogenic compressors and turbo pumps; the instruments setups, the startup and operations of the telescopes; providing afternoon support for visiting/remote astronomers as needed. The successful candidate will also be responsible for telescope/instrument 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,establish methods for resolving 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.
  • Working experience with cryogenic systems, compressors and turbo pumps
  • Computing expertise in a Mac OSX or Linux environment.
  • Programming experience with Python is desirable as well as familiarity with IRAF and/or IDL. 


  • 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. Email address for inquiries about job: 

To apply, use the following link:

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

Applicants are encouraged to apply by February 1, 2024, when application review will begin. However, the position will remain open until 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.

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).

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