LCO Telescope and Instrument Operator 

The Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) of the Carnegie Institution for Science Observatories - a world-class astronomical institution - has an opening for a telescope and instrument operator (TIO) position to work on the du Pont 2.5 m telescope.  In the next year, as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the telescope operations will be transitioning to a full survey mode for the duration of SDSS-V. The focal plane will be equipped with new state-of-the-art, robotic, multi-optical fiber positioners with fibers feeding two spectrographs. The successful candidate is expected to support the night operations of both telescope and instruments during the survey and beyond. 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. 


Job Description 

 The main duties of a TIO are the safe and efficient night operations of the telescope and its subsystems, working closely with local staff and visiting astronomers. The TIO has the responsibility of taking decisions on starting or ceasing operations in case of bad weather or any hazardous condition. Responsibility for instrument checkout and operations is also integral to this position.

The TIO also has a key role in performing basic troubleshooting and communicating with the mountain staff and remote support teams in case of technical issues. Additionally, a TIO writes daily and weekly reports on the operations of the telescope and related equipment and is also expected to write documentation and operation procedures. The TIO is a member of the LCO Technical Group and will report directly to the LCO Technical Operations Manager.

The normal work schedule is 7 nights in residence at the Observatory (2,300m) and 7 nights off. This is a full-time position based at LCO, Chile.


  • An advanced degree in astronomy, physics or engineering and/or equivalent experience in telescope operations for an astronomical observatory or similar scientific environment.
  • Computer expertise in Linux or Mac OSX environments.
  • Knowledge of basic programming is desirable. 
  • Experience in taking and reducing astronomical data is an asset.


  • 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.

Share this article