Staff Astronomer

Job Summary

Scientific / Technical Staff
W. M. Keck Observatory
Observing Support
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

Kamuela, HI
United States

Job Description

W.M. Keck Observatory in Kamuela, HI is actively seeking an ambitious and experienced full-time Staff Astronomer to instruct observers in the use of instruments and telescopes. Do you have a Ph.D. in astronomy or a related field? Have you previously worked at an astronomical observatory or a similar research institution? Are you aspiring to advance your career in observatory operations, instrumentation, and research with a supportive team in an innovative and lively environment? If so, please keep reading!


As an instrument scientist, your role is the core of what we do. By ensuring that observers are properly instructed in the use of our instruments, you support quality scientific research. You work directly with researchers to operate and calibrate instrumentations while supporting nighttime observations. Working with technical teams, you solve problems, add new capabilities, perform maintenance, and make minor upgrades to instruments. Working with the development teams at the observatory and at partner institutions, you assist with instrument projects and new initiatives. Your job is highly collaborative, as you team with engineers and technicians to keep instruments in top condition and meet the needs of observers.

Being an instrument scientist, your ultimate goal is to develop a high degree of expertise in one or more of our instruments. You develop your expertise by maintaining, operating, and improving instruments with proper documentation. You contribute to the data management of the observatory with data reduction tools and techniques as well as deal with observers' data analysis inquiries. Observers' concerns are also met when you respond to post-observing comment forms and follow through on improvements. Being an instrument scientist also affords time to perform independent research and help develop optimal observing techniques and methodology.



  •  Ph.D. in astronomy or a related science field
  •  3 years of experience working at an astronomical observatory or similar research institution
  •  Knowledge about astronomical instrumentation


Your Staff Astronomer schedule is full-time and includes day/afternoon/night-time support of the 7 nights a week science operation with observers in Waimea or at remote mainland sites.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Type
Included Benefits

This position earns a competitive salary, depending on experience and skill. We also provide great benefits and perks, including 4 weeks of annual paid vacation, 100%-paid employee health insurance, a 403(b) plan, a highly regarded tuition assistance program for dependent children (K-12 grade), and an unmatched focus on excellence.

Application Details

Application Instructions
To learn more about this position, including the pay, apply at the link below.
Publication Start Date
2024 Apr 15
Application Deadline
2024 May 14


Dawn M Hao-De Motta