Career Opportunities with Gemini Observatory

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At Gemini we seek individuals who are deeply committed and dedicated to exploring the universe and sharing its wonders. Our success stems from our globally diverse team in Hawaii and Chile, combined with the strong foundation provided by our international partners. You will find a challenging environment with innovative people, operating in a supportive culture that fosters collaboration and teamwork.


Engineering Sr. Control Software Engineer

Electronics Technician

Systems Engineer

Science Assistant or Associate Scientist

Gemini Science Fellows


Sr. Control Software Engineer

  • Location: La Serena, Chile or Hilo, Hawaii
  • Deadline for Application:
  • Job Code: OPE457P

Position Summary: Provide technical leadership and expertise in the field of control system software for large astronomical telescopes and instrumentation. Provide control system solutions that support the needs of the observatory. Support and maintain existing, installed software for the optimum performance of the telescopes and instruments. Actively participate in training and technical leadership for software engineers, new hires and summer interns.  

Duties and Responsibilities :

  1. Provide daytime and night-time operational support by troubleshooting, diagnosing and solving problems with installed control systems.
  2. Develop conceptual / detailed control system designs that integrate with existing telescope systems.
  3. Develop, maintain and configure high and low level control system software to operate and calibrate high performance, custom designed telescope systems.
  4. Develop and maintain high level Adaptive Optics software tools and wave front sensor correction algorithms.
  5. Develop and maintain system models, diagnostics and support utilities.
  6. Follow a rigorous software development life cycle, including all phases: requirements gathering, design, documentation, development, testing, deployment, production and disposal.
  7. Collaborate with engineers from other disciplines as well as the science staff to gather and document requirements for new software systems and improvements to existing systems.  
  8. Participate in planning, documentation, and tracking of software development projects and processes.
  9. Assume technical ownership and future development, for one or more software systems applying the software development cycles employed at the Observatory.
  10. Provide clearly written documentation, both technical and user-oriented, including software interface control documents, user manuals and operational procedures.
  11. Review software designs done by external contractors and participate in the integration, testing and commissioning phases of new hardware and software systems.
  12. Provide technical leadership and mentoring of software engineers, supervising their work and giving direction as needed.
  13. Research new technologies and investigate ways in which they may be applied to solve problems faced by the observatory. Write proposal documents and whitepapers that explain software systems in a language that can be appreciated by an educated but non-expert audience.
  14. Perform other duties as assigned.

Job Specifications:

The position requires the ability to support existing tools and utilities used in the control of Observatory systems, including the cutting edge Multi Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) system.  This position will also participate in development of the next generation of Observatory systems and tools. While the primary role is focused on motion control software, wavefront sensor correction algorithms, and high level adaptive optics software, the candidate is also expected to work with other systems as well. The ideal candidate will be a senior level C developer with an in-depth understanding of the EPICS framework. Experience with Java, Python and other programming languages is also a plus. He/she must be able to work as part of a team (i.e. able to collaborate constructively with other developers, participate in peer reviews, etc.) and also be able to work independently. We are always looking to improve our processes and prefer engineers that are eager to contribute in this area. We develop software using VxWorks/RTEMS and Linux using the EPICS control system framework.  Our target platforms include VME-based Motorola CPUs and Linux-based soft IOCs.

Education Required:

Bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field. Master's degree may be considered in place of some of the required experience.

Experience Required:

Must have a minimum of five years of experience in software development for control systems with significant exposure to low level device programming. Previous experience in an astronomical research or scientific environment highly desirable.

Skills Required:

Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills.  Must be proficient in a wide range of software design principles.  Experience in the astronomy field is not mandatory, but previous experience in scientific environments will be an advantage. Engineers with the background indicated below and proficiency in several of the following areas will be preferred:

  • Working experience with the EPICS framework
  • Experience with the VxWorks/RTEMS operating systems and Linux.
  • Sound experience with C. Python and other scripting languages is a plus. DSP programming, PLC programming, and C++ or Java desirable
  • Familiarity with wavefront sensing and Adaptive Optics is highly desirable
  • System automation, motion control, or real-time control experience desirable.
  • Experience with VME-based systems
  • 5+ years of software development experience
  • BS or higher (CS, ECE, EE or similar); or 6+ years of experience if no degree.

How To Apply | Apply Online

Electronics Technician

  • Location: Cerro Pachon
  • Deadline for Application:
  • Job Code: OPE213P

Position Summary:
As part of the summit crew candidate supports all electronic activities required to deliver working  telescope and instrumentation on a daily basis. 
Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Perform routine maintenance on telescope and instrument systems 
2. Troubleshoot and make appropriate repairs on telescope and instruments
3. Candidate can be expected to take responsibility for one of more Telescope/Facility sub-systems: prepare preventive maintenance plans, spares analysis and obsolescence mitigation and documentation. 
4. Assist with commissioning and upgrades of telescope and instrumentation systems
5. Perform daily check out of telescope subsystems, enclosure operation, and instrument configuration and assist in daily operations coordination. 
6. Assist with installation and removal of instruments
7. Maintain documentation 
Job Specifications:
Requires a strong background in electronics.  Excellent interpersonal, teamwork, decision-making, judgment and oral and written English communication skills are necessary.  Must have an excellent safety attitude.     
Education Required:
Bachelors degree in electronic technology or equivalent training.
Experience Required:
Experience and proficiency in the maintenance of electronics systems is required. Previous observatory experience and in one or more of the follow areas, vacuum, cryogenics, motion control, PLC, astronomical instrumentation and telescope systems is highly preferred.  
Skills Required:  
Requires excellent troubleshooting and repair skills.  

How To Apply | Apply Online

Systems Engineer

  • Location: La Serena, Chile or Hilo, Hawaii
  • Deadline for Application: Until filled.
  • Job Code: ENG105P

We have an immediate opening for an experienced Systems Engineer for our base facility in La Serena, Chile or Hilo, Hawaii. The successful candidate will join the Systems Engineering team that supports the operation of our 8 meter telescopes. This involves proper systems monitoring, configuration control integrity, modeling, constant initiatives towards improvement of efficiency and performance of all systems.

The role of the Systems Engineer is to assist the Science and Engineering groups in solving operational issues related to telescope and instruments operations, as well as provide systems engineering and project management support for new projects and maintenance activities.

Candidates should have experience developing, implementing and maintaining systems and systems controls in order to maximize the efficiency of telescope and instrument operations, while improving the reliability and up time of such systems. In addition, the successful candidate should also have experience in systems documentation and archiving tasks, including the supervision of systems technicians in charge of such archiving systems.

Education Required:

  • BS degree or advanced degree in an Engineering or Science discipline, with courses in systems engineering, industrial engineering, electronics engineering, physics, mathematics, astronomy and other related fields.
  • 4- 5 years related experience.
  • Equivalent combination of education and experience.

Desirable skills or qualifications:

  • Must have a good driving record and be able to drive 4-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Must take and pass a high altitude physical to be able to work at 4300-meter (14,000 feet) elevation.
  • Must be fluent in English, Spanish desirable.  
  • Must be able to quickly develop complex systems understanding with minimum of information and documentation.
  • Able to work and make decisions under pressure.
  • Excellent safety awareness.
  • Must be able to document procedures and processes.
  • Excellent planning skills.
  • Must have a good attitude towards others.

Other abilities and skills required for this position are:

Must be able to work effectively and efficiently at 14000 feet.
Able to travel abroad to support Gemini North or Gemini South.
Must be flexible to work weekends and holidays as needed.

How To Apply | Apply Online


Assistant or Associate Scientist

  • Location: Hilo, Hawaii
  • Deadline for Application: Until filled.
  • Job Code: 15-0163

Position Summary:
The successful applicant will have demonstrated scientific leadership 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 external scientists, as well as participate in observatory committees and external scientific organizations. The position is split 80/20, with 80% of the Scientist's time spent carrying out functional duties, and 20% on personal research.
Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Providing science support of instrumentation, telescope sub-systems, and facility.
2. Participating in commissioning of instrumentation and support facilities.
3. Preparing nightly queue observing plans and executing queue-based observations for other astronomers in the Gemini communities.
4. Supporting Gemini users with specification of their observing program using Gemini tools, and introducing visiting observers to the telescope and instruments.
5. Conducting tests, calibration, and maintenance and developing documentation of new and existing astronomical equipment, including control and data acquisition systems.
6. Conducting personal research.
7. Preparing and presenting scientific papers at astronomical meetings and symposia.
Job Specifications:
Must be able to work independently.  An ability to communicate with a wide variety of staff, visiting observers and remote investigators throughout the Gemini partnership is essential.  Requires excellent team player skills.  Must have excellent written and oral communication skills.  An aptitude for dealing with practical problems and issues is necessary.  Must have a willingness to travel internationally and work in a culturally diverse environment.  Must possess the motivation and ability to identify and carry out new projects in a team environment while participating in the day-to-day operations of the observatory.  
Education Required:
Ph.D. in Astronomy or Astrophysics., or a related field.

How To Apply | Apply Online

Gemini Science Fellows

  • Location: La Serena, Chile and Hilo, Hawaii
  • Deadline for Application: 12/01/2015
  • Job Code: 15-0136

The Gemini Observatory is a partnership of six countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile and the United States. Forefront astronomical research is carried out with 8-m optical/infrared telescopes in Hawaii and Chile (see ).

Gemini has an opening for one Science Fellow at each of Gemini North, Hilo, Hawaii, and Gemini South, La Serena, Chile. These Science Fellow positions are for fixed three-year terms, with half of the Fellow's time spent on personal research, and half on Observatory support duties.

The successful Science Fellow will propose a 3-year research program in which Gemini observations figure prominently. Individual scientific research is supported by a research budget. Information on current and future instruments at each telescope can be found on the Gemini web pages. Fellows are members of the Gemini Research Faculty, actively and independently contributing to the research environment at the Observatory; collaboration with other Gemini staff is also encouraged.

Science Fellows at Gemini acquire significant training and experience in large ground-based telescope operations—becoming proficient both in state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation and research, and in the techniques of modern, queue-based observing methods. Fellows may train as queue-scheduled observers and support external investigators in the preparation of their observations. Additional Observatory duties may include support of Gemini instrumentation, employing queue planning tools to construct nightly observing plans, and/or working on Observatory development projects, depending on the Fellow's interests.

Gemini offers an attractive and competitive salary and benefit package. The majority of the successful applicants’ time is spent at the base facilities in Hilo, Hawaii, or La Serena, Chile. Hilo is a town with a very diverse population of about 43,000 people, a tropical climate, and a substantial international astronomical community supporting the observatories on Maunakea. La Serena is a mid-sized city on the ocean, with a population of about 400,000 in the metropolitan area, also supporting a number of professional astronomical facilities. It is a popular tourist destination in the (Chilean) summer.

Requirements: Ph.D. in astronomy, physics or related discipline. Observational, data analysis and/or instrumentation experience in one or more of the following areas is a plus: near-IR spectroscopy and imaging; optical and multi-object and IFU spectroscopy; adaptive optics and high spatial resolution imaging. Must be safety conscious; possess or be able to obtain a valid passport; willing and able to travel internationally; possess a valid driver's license with a good driving record; and be able to drive 4WD vehicles. Applicants must be able to work nights at the altitude of the Cerro Pachon (2900 m) or Mauna Kea (4200 m) summit.

Send a cover letter relating your experience and education to the requirements of the position,   your curriculum vitae, a research statement that provides a summary of your most important contributions to research in astronomy and describes your future plans, and a statement of observatory support interests.  Three professional references must also be provided along with your application. Letters of reference should be sent directly from the referee to Therese Glowania, HR Manager Gemini North at All documents are required in order to be considered for the position. Application materials should be submitted online through the Gemini web site:  Please include the AAS Job Register number in your cover letter. Applications received by December 1, 2015 will receive full consideration. The starting date is negotiable but is expected to be between April and August 2016. For further information about the positions please contact Dr. Sandy Leggett, Gemini-North Head of Science Operations (, Dr. René Rutten, Gemini-South Head of Science Operations ( or Dr. Nancy Levenson, Deputy Director and Head of Science (


How To Apply | Apply Online

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Employment FAQs

Employment FAQs

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