The University of Texas at Austin, McDonald Observatory invites applications for a Resident Astronomer at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) in the beautiful Davis Mountains of west Texas. The HET is a fully queue scheduled 10-m class optical and near-IR spectroscopic telescope located 6,600 feet above sea level. The observing queue is run by the team of Resident Astronomers who serve as on-site observing specialists, each working about 10 nights per month. Currently the facility instruments include the Visible Integral-field Replicable Unit Spectrograph (VIRUS), the Low-Resolution Spectrograph 2 (LRS2), and the Habitable-zone Planet Finder spectrograph (HPF). This powerful suite of spectroscopic instruments on one of the world’s largest optical telescopes enables a diverse range of research possibilities.
Key responsibilities of this support position include:
Leading nightly science observations safely and efficiently from sunset to sunrise, selecting and executing observations of targets from the queue.
Working with the HET partner scientists to verify the integrity and quality of the observations and helping optimize the scientific productivity of the facility.
Working with instrument scientists and engineering staff to support, maintain, and document the performance of the HET and its instruments.
Documenting the current status of science operations through wikis and web pages.
Conducting projects to characterize and/or improve science operations.
Contributing to the scientific life at the observatory (up to 25% time available for personal research)
PhD in astronomy or physics, or equivalent.
A strong demonstrated commitment to service astronomy.
Two years of experience leading instrumentation or observations on 3+m class ground-based telescopes in optical and/or near infrared spectroscopy.
Strong track record of research output and publications, particularly with programs that can make use of instrumentation at the HET.
Proficiency using Linux operating systems; experience writing code in Python or C++ and capacity to develop software related to data acquisition, reduction, and analysis.
Proven organizational, managerial, and leadership skills to fill in for the HET Science Operations Manager as needed, and/or to lead a small team on an improvement and/or characterization projects.
Full details and application link are available at
This position is security-sensitive, and a background check will be conducted. UT is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and committed to diversity.
Salary range: $65k + depending on qualifications
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