Adaptive Optics Scientist / Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
To event remaining 14 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
W. M. Keck Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Are you ready to join a dynamic and dedicated team that implements challenging engineering projects for astronomical science?

The W. M. Keck Observatory (WMKO) operates two 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes and an associated suite of advanced instrumentation, including laser guide star adaptive optics (AO) facilities. These telescopes have been extremely productive scientifically and have allowed the WMKO science community to play a leading role in understanding the universe from our solar system, to exoplanets, black holes, the earliest galaxies, and dark matter and energy. Scientific competitiveness is maintained through the development and implementation of new instrumentation, as well as upgrades to the existing science instruments and facilities. Current WMKO AO development activities include new real-time controllers, a new laser, laser tomography, PSF-reconstruction, near-infrared tip-tilt and pyramid wavefront sensors, and a fiber injection unit coronagraph feed to a spectrograph. Several new Keck AO-fed science instruments are also in the design phase at Caltech and the University of California.

Principal Activities

The AO Scientist/Engineer will play a lead role in the development and optimization of new AO capabilities from initial concepts and proposals through development to science operations. The AO Scientist/Engineer will be expected to productively collaborate with other WMKO staff, the WMKO science community and the international AO technical community.  

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. level degree in AO or high angular resolution astronomy, or equivalent experience.
  • Four years of relevant experience in the development and/or use of AO for astronomical research.
  • A broad understanding of the multiple engineering disciplines needed to develop AO systems, with detailed knowledge of at least one of opto-mechanical systems, operations software or real-time AO algorithm implementations.
  • Technical leadership skills.


To learn more about this position and to apply, go to: This position is subject to available funding. Cover letters can be addressed to Jeannette Mundon, Human Resources.

WMKO is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and in a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA. WMKO offers competitive benefits including relocation assistance and eligible dependent independent school tuition assistance.

All qualified applicants, including women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

WMKO is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Selection Deadline: 
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Jeannette Mundon
Talent Management Administrator
W. M. Keck Observatory
Department Name: 
Human Resources
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Jeannette Mundon
AO Scientist/Engineer