LCO Operations Engineer/Scientist

Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) of the Carnegie Institution for Science, a world-class astronomical institution, is seeking an Engineer/Scientist to strengthen our operations team in Chile. The APOGEE-2S survey, part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV (SDSS-IV), operates with the du Pont 2.5-meter telescope at LCO. Carnegie astronomers and researchers representing a wide international consortium of institutions are now planning for SDSS-V, an ambitious, five-year, integrated visible and near-infrared spectroscopic survey

including the Milky Way Mapper (MWM), Black Hole Mapper (BHM), and Local Volume Mapper (LVM) projects. The MWM and BHM surveys will employ new state-of-the-art, robotic, multi-optical fiber positioners on the 2.5-meter telescopes at both LCO and at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico to feed the APOGEE and BOSS spectrographs. The Operations Engineer/Scientist will join our staff at LCO to participate in and support these exciting, worldclass, wide field survey programs. LCO offices and administrative headquarters are located in the coastal resort city of La Serena, while the observatory facilities are located 160 km north of La Serena at the southern extremity of the Atacama desert in the Andes mountains.

Job Description:
The LCO Operations Engineer/Scientist will work with a team of scientists, programmers, engineers and technicians to maintain and support operation of the Carnegie telescopes and existing and forthcoming instrumentation and facilities associated with wide field, optical fiberfed, spectroscopic surveys. The successful candidate will support the transition from manual fiber positioning in SDSS-IV to robotic fiber positioning in SDSS-V, beginning in 2020. The work responsibilities will follow a nominal shift schedule of five days on and two days off, with flexibility for engineering periods and quick response to operational challenges. The Engineer/Scientist will report directly to the LCO Technical Operations Manager while coordination of activities with the broader SDSS-IV and -V communities will occur via the LCO Associate
Director. Some international travel will be required.  


  • An advanced degree in astronomy, physics or engineering and/or equivalent experience in operations support for an astronomical observatory or similar scientific environment.
  • Ability to communicate and cooperate in a team environment and to speak and write effectively, including technical reports and protocol documents. Fluency in written and spoken English. Knowledge of Spanish is an asset.
  • Ability to work at 8,000 feet.


  • Previous experience in observatory operations or astronomical instrumentation laboratory
  • Experience with optical fiber maintenance and astronomical spectrographs
  • Familiarity with survey observing techniques and data analysis and monitoring software.

Application Process:
Carnegie is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.  Complete job description is contained in this advertisement – no phone calls please.
Only electronic applications submitted through our website will be considered.

Thank you for submitting your application by clicking on the button below.

Application review will begin on 15 January, 2019 and continue until position is filled.  Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted.

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