Queue Observer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Archive Date: 
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Street Line 1: 
950 N Cherry Ave
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

WIYN Observatory is accepting applications for a full time Queue Observer. The Queue Observer (QO) will be in charge of nighttime operations of and run the queue observing program for the forthcoming radial velocity spectrometer, NEID, and associated subsystems. Candidates must be able to work without close supervision and to make scientific and technical decisions that maximize the scientific output of the NEID instrument.

NEID will be the flagship facility instrument at WIYN; an extreme precision radial velocity spectrometer to find and characterize extra-solar planets. It is the main component of a path-finding collaboration between NSF and NASA (NNEXPLORE) and is being built at the Pennsylvania State University. The spectrometer will arrive at WIYN in early 2019 and start operations later that year. The QO will essentially have responsibility of executing NEID observations in an efficient and productive fashion. They will have plenty of opportunity to interact with the Observatory staff and users and engage with the exciting science that will be carried out. This position will be a great opportunity for candidates with some astronomy training (BS or MS level) and looking for a career in hands-on observatory work.

The QO will work in observing shifts where they will work alongside the Observing Assistant who operates and monitors the telescope and observatory subsystems during nighttime operations.

The QO will also participate in daytime support activities of NEID and other instruments, including assisting with daily calibrations, checkout of instruments on the telescope, new observer orientation and monitoring system operations.


  • 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.
  • A basic knowledge of astronomy and experience with astronomical instrumentation, observing, and data reduction techniques is optimal.
  • Substantial experience in the operation of electronic, opto-mechanical, or similar equipment 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.

The work location is based at Kitt Peak National Observatory, approximately 50 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Transportation, meals and lodging are provided.

NOAO offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment.

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates.

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to employment@aura-astronomy.org.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) manages several astronomical observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory and the Gemini Observatory) and construction projects (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and Daniel. K. Inouye Solar Telescope) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

EOE AA M/F/Vet/Disability

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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AURA Human Resources
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