Science Operations Assistant (2)

Las Campanas Observatory (LCO of the Carnegie Institution for Science Observatories)—a world-class astronomical institution—has an opening for a Science Operations Assistant (2) to work on the two 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes.

As a key team member the Science operations Assistant will be responsible for operating the telescopes, ensuring the safe and smooth execution of night observations. Additionally, the successful candidate is expected to possess a good understanding of the instrumentation suite, enabling them to offer basic technical expertise in assisting visiting and remote astronomers with their observing programs.

The SOA will also play a crucial role in the initial troubleshooting of any technical issues that may arise with the telescope and instrument operations.

Minimum requirements are a degree in physics, astronomy, or engineering and computer expertise in the LINUX or MacOSX environments.

LCO offices and administrative headquarters are located in the city of La Serena, while the observatory facilities are located in the Andes mountains, 160 km north of La Serena.


Job Description

  • The main duties of a SOA are the safe and efficient night operations of the telescope and instruments.
  • Monitor weather conditions and assess their impact on observational activities.
  • Maintain fast and fluent communications in English or Spanish with remote/visiting astronomers (international observers)
  • Conduct basic troubleshooting and support the technical team in diagnosing and resolving issues.
  • Write nightly and weekly reports detailing observations and equipment performance.
  • Participate in the elaboration and revision of observing procedures
  • Handle cryogenics liquid
  • Additional duties may be assigned depending on organizational needs and qualifications. This could involve, for example, developing documentation on new subsystems, assessing the performance of the telescope and instruments, implementing new observing procedures, etc.
  • The normal work schedule is 7 nights in residence at the Observatory (2,300m) and 7 nights off.

Education required:

An advanced degree in astronomy, physics, or engineering and/or equivalent experience in telescope operations for an astronomical observatory or similar scientific environment.

Skills required:

  • Experience with telescopes and astronomical instrumentation
  • Knowledge of astronomical software
  • Computer expertise in Linux or Mac OSx environments.
  • Ability to communicate, cooperate in a team environment, and speak and write effectively, including technical reports and protocol documents.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
  • Proficiency in programming is highly desirable.
  • Valid driver's license.
  • Ability to work at 2,300 m.

LCO offices and administrative headquarters are located in the coastal resort city of La Serena, while the observatory facilities are located 160 km north of La Serena at the southern extremity of the Atacama desert in the Andes mountains.

Application Instructions

Position URL

Carnegie is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

A complete job description is contained in this advertisement – no phone calls, please. Email address for inquiries about the job:

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

Applicants are encouraged to apply by June 10, 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.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Carnegie Institution for Science has a long-standing commitment to equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment. All 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 characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

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