The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. AURA is accepting applications for a full time Observing Assistant at Kitt Peak National Observatory.
The Observing Assistant will operate telescopes and assist observers in the use of telescopes and associated scientific instruments. Candidates must be able to work without close supervision and to make scientific and technical decisions that maximize the scientific output of the Kitt Peak telescopes.
As an integral part of the wider observing support team, OAs are also expected to provide general support services for the nighttime operation of the observatory including assisting observers with basic data reduction, assisting maintenance personnel with trouble-shooting equipment problems, and execution of service observing programs.
The OA will occasionally participate in daytime support activities, including mounting and checkout of instruments on the telescopes, checkout of new observers, and monitoring system operations. Some time may be made available for the OAs to assist in special projects.
The work location is based at Kitt Peak National Observatory, approximately 50 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Transportation, meals and lodging are provided.
Requirements include knowledge of basic scientific principles and problem solving skills normally obtained through completion of a bachelor's degree in science or engineering and an aptitude in optics, mechanics, electronics and/or computers.
Substantial experience in the operation of electronic, opto-mechanical, or similar equipment is optimal.
A basic knowledge of astronomy and experience with astronomical instrumentation, observing, and data reduction techniques is desirable.
The successful candidate will be physically capable of working at altitudes of 7000 feet above sea level and of performing tasks on and around the telescope and the dome.
AURA actively supports efforts to broaden participation in all Observatory activities and fosters a diverse research environment. Women and candidates from under-represented minorities are particularly encouraged to apply.
Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.