Gemini Assistant Science Operations Specialist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Street Line 1: 
8 Kiopa'a St., Ste 201
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The International Gemini Observatory has an immediate opening for an ASSISTANT SCIENCE OPERATIONS SPECIALIST at our Northern Base Facility.  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

We seek an individual who can thrive in a culturally diverse environment. The Assistant Science Operations Specialist is a member of the Science Operations Team and performs a number of essential duties in the Observatory’s operation.  The successful applicant  will have demonstrated organizational and communication skills and possess self initiative and ability to understand the principles and functions of astronomical telescopes, instruments and observational data in acquiring proficiency.  The successful applicant will also possess excellent teamwork skills in order to work collaboratively with Gemini staff in our international community.

The position is located at the Gemini North (GN) Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii.

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid vacation leave, parental leave and retirement benefits. 

All applicants must submit a cover letter with their resume that describes their interest in this position and their relevant experience along with three professional references. Incomplete applications will not be considered.  

The Gemini Observatory 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 National Optical Astronomical Observatory, 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 under cooperative agreements with NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Activities and Functions of the Job 

The tasks of the Science Operations Specialist fall in four main areas: 

(1) Telescope operation, (2)observing, (3) Daytime data quality assessment, instrument calibration and software testing and (4) Project Work (specialized work in line with observatory goals and mission, assigned by management).  This position does not include research.

  • At least three years of hands-on experience in at least one of the following areas is required:;
  • Operation of a major ground-based telescope;
  • Optical and/or infrared observing techniques;
  • Data reduction and analysis of optical and/or infrared ground based data;
  • Astronomical instruments

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities

  • We seek an individual with a Bachelor’s degree in physics, astronomy, computer science, engineering or a closely related field; a Masters is preferred, particularly if it includes observing experience.  At the discretion of the Associate Director of Science Operations, exceptional work experience may substitute for a science or engineering degree. 
  • Qualified candidates will have at least three years of hands-on experience of operating or observing with large ground-based optical/IR telescopes, or with reducing and analyzing the data from such facilities. Knowledge and familiarity with Unix-based operating systems, e.g. Linux or Mac OS X is required. 
  • Preference will be given to candidates with experience in high-level software or scripting languages such as C, Python, IDL, Java; and knowledge of the IRAF or PyRAF data reduction environments.

Physical Demands:

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.

The work of a Science Operations Specialist 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 nature of the observatory, occasional work at high elevation (Maunakea, 4200m) will be required.

Application deadline is August 31, 2019. Position will remain open until filled.

Preference will be given to qualified internal applicants.

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 does 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. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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AURA Human Resources
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