Staff Astronomer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, July 10, 2020
Archive Date: 
Friday, August 7, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
W. M. Keck Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Are you an astronomer that enjoys working with instruments, data analysis, and loves observing as much as making discoveries?  Do you enjoy working closely with some of the best astronomers in the field? Would you like to join a high-performance team of like-minded scientists responsible for instrumentation and observing support at a renowned astronomical observatory, working with the biggest telescopes on the planet and residing in one of the world’s most uniquely beautiful and diverse locations?

All qualified applicants, including women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the Staff Astronomer position at the W. M. Keck Observatory.

The W. M. Keck Observatory (WMKO) on the Big Island of Hawaii operates the world’s two largest optical/infrared telescopes from the summit of Mauna Kea.  The Observatory seeks a Staff Astronomer that is a motivated self-starter, thrives in a team environment, has knowledge of ground-based optical and near-IR observing techniques and instrumentation, has a keen interest in data reduction, data analysis, and who appreciates the chance to work at the cutting edge of discovery in astronomy.

The successful applicant will join WMKO’s existing team of Staff Astronomers responsible for assisting visiting observers in using the instruments; maintaining, calibrating, and improving WMKO’s suite of world-class astronomical instrumentation; supporting data reduction; and participating on instrument building teams during development and commissioning of future instruments. The Staff Astronomers work primarily at WMKO headquarters in Waimea, renowned as one of Hawaii’s most livable communities, and travel to the Maunakea summit for occasional work as required. Team members can allocate up to 20% of their time to active astronomical research.

While certain key job duties like night support are expected of all Staff Astronomers, the numerous other job duties that exist at WMKO allow each individual to grow and develop within their own area of emphasis.  For example, a Staff Astronomer who has interest and skills in software can focus more towards software development and working with WMKO’s Scientific Software group, while a Staff Astronomer with interest in hardware and instrumentation can focus on hands on instrument work in conjunction with our instrument engineers and technicians. Another field of expertise open to Staff Astronomers is the technology and science of adaptive optics including laser guide star AO. Candidates for this position are encouraged to think about how they might specialize.

Required qualifications are a Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or engineering; relevant experience may be substituted for a degree. An Interest and/or experience with scientific instrumentation as well as experience observing and/or working at an astronomical observatory; must be capable of working effectively with visiting observers and coordinating multi-disciplinary instrument commissioning and maintenance teams.

Application - Apply to join a skilled and deeply committed team of professionals who enable exciting and important astronomical discoveries. Submit a cover letter and resume telling us how your background and passion relate to the position. Go to

About Us - Read about us, our science and our mission, go to To see a video about Keck go to

EEO Employer

Included Benefits: 

Keck Observatory offers a robust rewards package which include a competitive salary; a broad benefits bundle including a 403(b) plan; a highly regarded tuition assistance program for dependent children (K-12 grade); and an unmatched focus of excellence.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, September 4, 2020
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, September 4, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Jeannette Mundon
Talent Management Administrator
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
W. M. Keck Observatory
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Jeannette Mundon
Staff Astronomer