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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0185
Post Date 8/29/2017
Title Chief Science Operations Spec.
City Maui
State HI

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory (NSO), Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The NSO Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) Project has an immediate opening for a Chief Science Operations Specialist. The DKIST is currently under construction on Maui, Hawaii on the summit of Haleakala and scheduled for completion in 2019.This position will be located in Maui.

The Chief Science Operations Specialist supervises the team of Science Operations Specialists (SOS). He/She is responsible for developing and implementing work schedules for the SOS team including support of regular science observations, maintenance and technical development activities. As part of the telescope operations team the CSOS will perform regular observing support and conduct and support observations. The typical schedule is on shift and is a combination of mostly day work with occasional nighttime engineering support work.

He/She participates and supports observing proposal evaluation and planning of daily observations. The CSOS reports to the Science Operations Manager and will work closely with the Operations Scientist and the team of Resident Astronomers. During the commissioning phase the CSOS will work closely with engineers and science teams to support IT&C activities. The position is located on Maui. However, an initial assignment for one year to NSO Boulder or, alternatively, frequent and extended stays in Boulder will be necessary.


  • Developing a thorough working knowledge of all DKIST systems, including instrumentation, adaptive optics and observatory control systems.
  • Developing a thorough working knowledge of operations tools.
  • Supervising and managing the SOS team.
  • Participating in daily as well as long term planning of observations and observing strategies.
  • Participating in and supporting the Time Allocation Committee process.
  • Performing and supporting regular daily observations; Operating the telescope and instruments to perform scientific observations.
  • Assisting visiting and staff scientists preparing their observations.
  • Participating in regular instrument re-configuration activities.
  • Assisting engineering and science staff in troubleshooting telescope and instrument systems.
  • Participating in online data quality assessment.
  • Performing instrument and telescope calibrations.
  • Assisting with Software, Instrument and general telescope systems testing
  • Preparing the telescope and instruments for daytime operations.
  • Troubleshooting faults with the engineering team.
  • Reporting status at daily coordination meetings.
  • Perform other tasks as directed by supervisor.


  • Bachelor’s degree in physics, astronomy or another relevant field.
  • 5 years’ experience with operating ground-based telescope and instrument systems
  • 5 years of team management experience.
  • Significant experience with support of telescope operations, preferably including experience with service observing.
  • Knowledge of astronomical telescopes and instrumentation.
  • Familiarity with solar physics observatories and observing practices.
  • Ability to resolve technical problems by application of general engineering, scientific, or mathematical techniques.
  • Ability to speak and write effectively in English, including preparation of comprehensive reports
  • Good organizational skills and good written and verbal communication skills.
  • Computer skills

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Experience and interest in DKIST related observational research and science analysis
  • Significant experience with solar observing practices.

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0185LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA 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

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.

NSO will begin reviewing applications the week of October 27, 2017 and will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. Please be sure to submit a completed application along with supporting documents by no later than Friday, November 3, 2017 to be considered in the first review.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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