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Job Title. 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 few years, as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the telescope operations will be transitioning to a fully survey mode. The focal plane will be equipped with new state-of-the-art, robotic, multi-optical fiber positioners with fibers feeding the Boss optical spectrograph and the Apogee 2-S infrared spectrograph. The successful candidate is expected to support the transition from classical observing mode to the survey mode.


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 TIO are the safe and efficient night operations of the telescope and its subsystem, working closely with resident and visiting astronomers. He/she has the responsibility of taking decisions on  starting or ceasing operations in case of bad weather or any hazardous condition. The TIO also has a key role in performing basic troubleshooting and communicating with the mountain staff in case of technical issues. Additionally he/she 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 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:


  • Computer expertise in Linux or Mac OSx environments.
  • 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 basic programming is desirable.  
  • Experience in  taking and reducing astronomical data is an asset.
  • Valid driver's license.
  • Ability to work at 2,300 m.


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. 

Applications must be submitted online at the following URL:


Application review will begin on 18 October, 2019 and continue until the position is filled.

Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted.

Website:  and

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