Gemini Astronomer or Scientist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Archive Date: 
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The international Gemini Observatory has an immediate opening for an Assistant, Associate or Full Scientist or Astronomer position, depending on qualifications, to perform research and support scientific operations at our Northern Base Facility.

We seek an individual who thrives in a culturally diverse environment. The distinction between Astronomer and Scientist is the fractional time for research. Astronomer positions are split 50/50 between functional duties and personal research. Scientist positions are split 80/20 with an elective additional 4-week block per year for dedicated research efforts. The successful applicant will have demonstrated scientific productivity in research, and possess the motivation and ability to identify and carry out new projects to completion while assisting in the day-to-day operations of the observatory. The successful applicant will also possess excellent teamwork skills in order to work collaboratively with Gemini staff and external scientists, and participate in observatory committees and external scientific organizations.

The position is located at the Gemini North (GN) Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii.

The Gemini Observatory is managed by The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), a consortium of over 40 US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

Essential Functions:

  • Providing science support of instrumentation, telescope sub-systems, and facility.
  • Participating in commissioning of instrumentation and support facilities.
  • Preparing nightly queue observing plans and executing queue-based observations for other astronomers in the Gemini communities.
  • Supporting Gemini users with specification of their observing program using Gemini tools, and introducing visiting observers to the telescope and instruments.
  • Conducting tests, calibration, and maintenance and developing documentation of new and existing astronomical equipment, including control and data acquisition systems.
  • Conducting independent research in any area of astronomy.
  • Preparing and presenting scientific papers at astronomical meetings and symposia.

Astronomer and Scientist job duties differ mainly in the amount of productivity and leadership provided to the observatory based on individual research.


Required Education/ Experience/ Skills/ Abilities:

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Astronomy or related discipline.
  • Experience using optical/IR observations, analyzing data and producing and publishing science results.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform independent research in optical/IR astronomy.
  • Willingness to travel internationally and work in a culturally diverse environment.
  • Ability to communicate with a wide variety of staff, visiting observers and remote investigators throughout the Gemini partnership.
  • (Astronomer position): Demonstrated high scientific productivity reflected in a solid publication record.

Preferred Education/ Experience/ Skills/ Abilities:

  • Experience with optical/IR telescopes and/or instrumentation
  • Experience using or developing Adaptive Optics capabilities.
  • Experience with working closely with engineering teams during science commissioning of astronomical instrumentation.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform well in a diverse multidisciplinary team.
  • An aptitude for dealing with practical problems and issues.
  • Motivation and ability to identify and carry out new tasks in a team environment while participating in the day-to-day operations of the observatory.
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently as needed. 

Physical Demands:

  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and talk and hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately.


All applicants must submit a cover letter with their CV that describes their interest in this position and their relevant experience along with a research statement that is no longer than 3 pages in length. Please include a list of 3 professional references with contact information.

Application deadline is June 9, 2019.  Position will remain open until filled.

The position will be hired as a Scientist or Astronomer at an appropriate point in the AURA/Gemini Scientist non-tenure track, depending on the skills and experience of the successful applicant

Preference will be given to qualified internal applicants.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws.

Included Benefits: 

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid time off and retirement benefits.

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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AURA Human Resources
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