Resident Astronomer at the Hobby Eberly Telescope

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
University of Texas at Austin
Department Name: 
Hobby Eberly Telescope, McDonald Observatory
Street Line 1: 
82 Mt Locke Rd.
McDonald Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

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)


Preferred qualifications

  • 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

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Steven Janowiecki
HET Science Operations Manager