User Support Astronomer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Archive Date: 
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
European Southern Observatory
Street Line 1: 
Karl-Schwarzschildstrasse 2
Garching near Munich
Job Announcement Text: 

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries.

For its User Support Department, within the Data Management and Operations Division of the Directorate of Operations at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of User Support Astronomer.


Main Duties and Responsibilities

The successful candidate will be responsible for the support of Service Mode users of the La Silla Paranal Observatory facilities and of VLT and/or VLTI operations.

The main tasks include:

  • Support the users of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and/or the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in the areas of Phase 1 (observing proposal preparation) and Phase 2 (review of observation blocks and observing strategy) as well as providing helpdesk support including post-observation support for data reduction;
  • Support the Paranal Observatory during programme execution and follow-up;
  • Have an active role in the operation teams of the instruments to be supported; and
  • in the medium term, become involved in preparations for ELT operations and support of its users.

As an astronomer and member of the ESO Science Faculty, you will be expected and encouraged to conduct astronomical research and participate actively in the scientific life of ESO. Research in areas directed towards using the capacities of the VLT/VLTI and ALMA and future capabilities of the ELT will be strongly encouraged.



Essential educational level: Ph.D. in Astronomy, Physics or equivalent.


Language skills:

The position requires an excellent working knowledge of English.


Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany. The post holder will be requested to make occasional duty trips to the La Silla Paranal Observatory in northern Chile.



To view the full vacancy notice and instructions on how to apply, please visit

Deadline for applications is 9 January 2020.

No nationality is in principle excluded, however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Chile irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

Included Benefits: 

ESO offers an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (tax free), comprehensive pension scheme and medical, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family and the possibility to place your child/children in daycare.

The contract is for a fixed term duration of three years, and is subject to successful completion of the probation period. There may be a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organisational requirements as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment.


Application Deadline: 
Thursday, January 9, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
ESO Human Resources Department