NOAO Assistant Scientist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Archive Date: 
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has an opening within the Kitt Peak National Observatory for an Assistant or Associate Scientist, depending on experience. The person hired will have a uniquely exciting opportunity to take part in deploying, commissioning, and using the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak. The Assistant or Associate Scientist will have demonstrated scientific ability in research and possess the motivation and ability to identify and carry out technical projects to completion while assisting in the day-to-day operations and long-term planning of the observatory. The Assistant or Associate Scientist will also possess excellent team skills to work in collaboration with observatory technical and support staff, with visiting scientists and others on scientific research as well as participate on observatory committees and national/international scientific organizations.

Essential Functions:

  • Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the Mayall telescope and dome environment, and recommending maintenance or upgrades as called for.
  • Assisting with tests, calibration, maintenance and documentation of new and existing astronomical equipment, including control and data acquisition systems.
  • Providing science support of telescope sub-systems, facility and instrumentation.
  • Interacting with and directing the work of observatory technical staff for observational support, telescope and instrument maintenance, and telescope and instrument upgrade programs.
  • Introducing visiting observers to the Mayall telescope and instruments and assisting them with night-time startup help when necessary.
  • Participating in installation and commissioning of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and support facilities.
  • Participating in planning of DESI observations.
  • Carrying out observations for the DESI survey or other programs.
  • Conducting observational and research projects (personal research).
  • Preparing and presenting scientific papers at astronomical meetings and symposia.
  • Preparing and presenting technical papers at astronomy-related meetings, e.g. SPIE symposia.

Other Functions:

  • Other observatory duties as assigned.
  • External professional service activities, e.g. service on review committees, as approved by supervisor.


  • Ph.D. in Astronomy or related field.
  • At least three years of experience in ground-based astronomical research and a strong record of publications of significant research in astronomy.
  • Knowledge of theoretical and observational approaches to exploring origins, physical properties, and dynamics of celestial objects including the interstellar medium, stars and galaxies, including experience with: Spectroscopy. Direct Imaging. Astronomical software and data reduction techniques. Observational/experimental astrophysics.
  • Scholarship and publications of significant value to the Kitt Peak scientific mission.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Ability to communicate collaboratively with a wide variety of observatory staff, visiting observers and remote investigators throughout the DESI community.
  • Excellent team player skills.
  • Motivation and ability to identify and carry out new projects in a team environment while participating in the day-to-day operations of the observatory.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Aptitude for dealing with practical problems and issues.
  • Willingness to travel internationally and work in a culturally diverse environment.
  • Ability to sit for long periods of time.
  • Ability to climb stairs and work at 6,800 feet altitude for sustained periods of time in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions.
  • Good visual and auditory acuity.
  • Ability to use computer hardware and software.

Application deadline is January 31, 2018.

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

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.

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. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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