Telescope Operator
Palomar Mountain, CA 
Posted 27 days ago
Position No Longer Available
Position No Longer Available
Job Description

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.

Job Summary

The position is full-time, benefited, at Palomar Observatory located in north San Diego County, California. Under the direction of the night operations supervisor, this position is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the 200 inch Hale telescope and Palomar robotic telescopes. The position is responsible for operating the adaptive optics instrument, supporting the operation of all other scientific instruments, and assisting the astronomers during the nightly observing sessions as needed.

Essential Job Duties

  • Night operation of the 200-inch telescope and remote management of robotic telescopes.
  • Support observers in the operation and efficient use of scientific instrumentation, pointing of the telescope, and any other needs.
  • Operate the advanced adaptive optics instrument when it is scheduled on the telescope. Support the operation of all other scientific instruments as needed.
  • Monitor sky conditions and environmental parameters to safeguard telescope facilities from compromise due to weather, smoke, or any conditions deemed hazardous to personnel, telescopes, or instrumentation.
  • Provide input to group supervisor on improvements to procedures or systems to maximize efficiency or safety.
  • Assist in problem resolution by solving or contacting the appropriate resources necessary for timely response to problems as they arise.
  • Use computer-based diagnostics to troubleshoot observatory system anomalies.
  • Participate in instrument exchanges and/or mirror aluminization when needed.
  • Assist with ice/snow removal on roads, walkways, and steps.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Basic Qualifications

  • High school education or equivalent and 4 years of work experience OR equivalent education and work experience.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds.
  • Ability to work safely in confined or elevated environments.
  • Ability to safely work at 5,600-foot altitude.
  • Effective oral and written communications.
  • Ability to work nights.
  • Effective PC skills including MS Office and telescope control systems.
  • Skilled in the interpretation of meteorological data from web and local sources in determining risk due to weather.

Preferred Qualifications

  • 2 or more years of experience operating telescopes and astronomical instrumentation; or an undergraduate degree or higher in astronomy or a similar field.
  • 2 or more years of experience in software scripting or programming.

Required Documents

  • Resume
COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed "fully vaccinated" when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). Upon eligibility, employees are required to receive the COVID-19 booster as part of the vaccine mandate. As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found .

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at .

Caltech is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and will, whenever possible, actively recruit and include for employment members of underrepresented minority groups, females, disabled veterans, protected veterans, and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. Caltech will hire, transfer, and promote based on the qualifications of the individual to ensure equal consideration and fair treatment of all.


Position No Longer Available
Job Summary
Start Date
As soon as possible
Employment Term and Type
Regular, Full Time
Required Education
High School or Equivalent
Required Experience
4+ years
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