Scientist or Astronomer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, October 25, 2019
Archive Date: 
Friday, December 13, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NSF OIR Lab) at the International Gemini Observatory has an immediate opening for a Scientist or Astronomer to perform research and support scientific operations at our Northern Base Facility. Our telescopes and instruments specialize in optical and in IR astronomy. Therefore we are looking for a person with experience using optical/IR observations, analyzing data and producing and publishing science results. As a scientist, we expect you to have a demonstrated ability to perform independent research in optical/IR astronomy. We particularly welcome applications from astronomers with extensive experience and leadership in time domain astronomy, solar system science, exoplanet studies and/or adaptive optics. We seek an individual who thrives in a culturally diverse environment. We are committed to diversity and inclusion at Gemini Observatory. Our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, 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

The distinction between Astronomer and Scientist is the fractional time for research. Astronomer positions are split 50/50 between functional duties and personal research. Scientist positions are split 80/20 with an elective additional 4-week block per year for dedicated research efforts. The successful applicant will have demonstrated scientific productivity in research, and possess the motivation and ability to identify and carry out new projects to completion while assisting in the day-to-day operations of the observatory. The successful applicant will also possess excellent teamwork skills in order to work collaboratively with Gemini staff and scientists in our international community, and participate in observatory committees and external scientific organizations. The position is located at the Gemini North (GN) Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii.

The Gemini Observatory is part of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Research Laboratory and is managed by The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), a consortium of over 40 US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the Mid-Scale Observatories, the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and LSST operations as components of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Research Laboratory. AURA also manages the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

Activities and Functions of the Job
In this position, you will be:

  • Providing science support of instrumentation, telescope sub-systems, and facility.
  • Participating in commissioning of instrumentation and support facilities.
  • Preparing nightly queue observing plans and executing queue-based observations for other astronomers in the Gemini communities.
  • Supporting Gemini users with specification of their observing program using Gemini tools, and introducing visiting observers to the telescope and instruments.
  • Conducting tests, calibration, and maintenance and developing documentation of new and existing astronomical equipment, including control and data acquisition systems.
  • Conducting independent research in any area of astronomy.
  • Preparing and presenting scientific papers at astronomical meetings and symposia.

Training will be provided in these functions where needed.

Required Education/ Experience/ Skills/ Abilities:
We seek an individual with a Ph.D. in Physics, Astronomy, or related discipline. The job requires you to work in a culturally diverse environment, and sometimes to travel internationally. It is important to have good communication skills since you will have to communicate with a wide variety of staff, visiting observers and remote investigators throughout the Gemini partnership.
Preferred Education/ Experience/ Skills/ Abilities:
Given Gemini Observatory’s telescopes and instrument capabilities, the following experiences are valued: Experience using and/or developing optical/IR telescopes and/or instrumentation and/or Adaptive Optics capabilities. Experience with working closely with engineering teams during science commissioning of astronomical instrumentation. The job will often require you to work with people from other disciplinary teams. Therefore it will be good if you have a demonstrated ability to perform well in a diverse multidisciplinary team to solve problems and issues. At the same time, it is important that you can work independently when necessary.

Physical Demands:
The work of a Gemini Scientist is mostly carried out in an office environment near sea level. Long periods of sitting may be required. You will be expected to perform night time duties as well as day time, working to a prearranged schedule. Given the international nature of the observatory, you may also need to travel, and occasional work at high elevation (Maunakea, 4200m) may be required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities or other considerations to perform the essential functions.
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid vacation leave, parental leave and retirement benefits. Application deadline:  December 9, 2019. Position will remain open until filled.  All applicants must submit a cover letter with their CV that describes their interest in this position and their relevant experience as well as a research statement. Please include a list of 3 professional references with contact information.
The position will be hired at an appropriate point in the AURA/Gemini Scientist non-tenure track or Astronomer tenure-track, depending on the skills and experience of the successful applicant.

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 and all of the centers, do 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.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

Included Benefits: 

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid time off and retirement benefits.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, December 9, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
AURA Human Resources
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job