Staff Astronomer

Job Summary

Tenure and Tenure-track Faculty Positions
Carnegie Observatories
Scientific Research
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California invites applications for one of at least two staff astronomer (faculty-equivalent) appointments. These appointments are open to individuals at any career stage. Carnegie staff scientists hold full time endowment-supported salaried (12 months per year) appointments to pursue independent research. Carnegie Science is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. We strongly encourage applications from individuals who have the capacity not only to contribute to intellectual diversity but also to foster an environment that is inclusive and accessible to all.

Candidates using observational, instrumental, and/or theoretical approaches to the study of astronomy and astrophysics, including but not limited to exoplanets, stellar, galactic, or extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, are encouraged to apply. At least one appointment will be made in exoplanet science. The other appointment is open to all fields in astronomy and astrophysics. We encourage applications from those interested in areas that complement or expand the existing strengths represented by our Scientific Staff at The Observatories and the Earth and Planets Laboratory (our Carnegie Science Washington, D.C. campus).

The Carnegie Institution owns and operates the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, which includes the twin 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes as well as the 2.5-meter du Pont and 1.0-meter Swope telescopes. Carnegie is a full institutional member of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey V and is a founding partner of the Giant Magellan Telescope. The Observatories also hosts the Carnegie Theoretical Astrophysics Center (CTAC). Scientific computing at Carnegie is supported by a 19% share in the Resnick HPC Center at Caltech in addition to local campus computing resources, and a state-of-the-art Visualization Lab. For more than a century, The Observatories has also been a center of innovation in the design and construction of telescopes and instruments. Instrument projects are supported by a dedicated engineering group as well as an onsite, fully staffed machine shop, and benefit from access to lab space that includes a clean room and electronics lab.

Although staff scientists do not have formal teaching duties, we place considerable emphasis on mentoring our vibrant group of roughly 20 postdoctoral fellows. The Observatories has active partnerships with several universities, providing opportunities for our staff members to advise graduate students, and runs a summer internship program for undergraduate students. Carnegie also organizes significant education and outreach programs in the local community in which staff astronomers are encouraged to lead and/or participate.

Applicants must have a Ph.D., or equivalent, in a field related to astrophysics, including but not limited to physics, astronomy, or engineering by the time of appointment. The full rubric detailing the criteria for review of applications is available on our website.

Applications should include (1) a cover letter that emphasizes the candidate’s specific interest in this position, (2) a curriculum vitae including list of publications, (3) a research statement (5 page maximum including figures; references may be listed on additional pages as needed) outlining the candidate's research plans at Carnegie, and (4) a broader impact statement (3 page maximum, not including references, please see a description here). These materials, along with the names of three references, must be submitted online through the Carnegie jobs portal by November 3, 2023. Individuals identified as references will be contacted to provide letters for those applicants whose candidacy advances to a second round of consideration. 

At Carnegie, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We believe academic environments should be places where diverse groups of people with a variety of viewpoints and ideas can thrive and work together. As such, we encourage applicants from under-represented groups and backgrounds to apply. The Carnegie Institution is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Range
$145,000USD to $0USD
Included Benefits

Medical, Dental, Vision, 401A, 403B, and much more.  Full info here:

Compensation Notes

Minimum salary is $145,000 annually, exact salary determined by experience and education related to the role, compensation structure, internal equity and budget.

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2023 Sep 06
Application Deadline
2023 Nov 03


Dr. Gwen Rudie