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Instrument Engineer

W. M. Keck Observatory, Kamuela, HI, United States
Employer Description

The W. M. Keck Observatory operates two 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. The twin telescopes feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectroscopy and a world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics system which cancels out much of the interference caused by EarthÆs turbulent atmosphere. The Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

Job Description


Instrument Engineer

| Development & Integration | Improvements & Maintenance | Operations |  Documentation |Leadership |  Planning |

 Are you ready to provide your expertise in instrumentation to our dedicated team that leads the observatory’s instrumentation program for astronomical science? Are you passionate about development and integration of new instruments? Are you a hands-on engineer?

The W. M. Keck Observatory (WMKO) operates two 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes and an associated suite of advanced instrumentation. These telescopes have been extremely productive scientifically and have allowed the WMKO science community to play a leading role in understanding the universe from our solar system, to exoplanets, black holes, the earliest galaxies, and dark matter and energy.

The Instrument Engineer provides engineering expertise for the facility-class astronomical instruments. This position collaborates with peers to provide broader support to instrumentation and telescope related equipment. The Instrument Engineer spends significant amount of time at the summit of Maunakea facility where the instruments are located. This position works in close collaboration with technicians, engineers, and astronomers.

Facility-class astronomical instrumentation is defined as high performance, reliable, maintainable, scalable scientific imaging sensors systems at various wavelengths operating at the observatory. Instruments tend to be multidisciplinary in terms of working with optics, opto-mechanics, control electronics, and software.

WMKO will provide mentoring and training to the selected candidate. Required Qualifications include

  • Bachelor of Science degree in engineering; or equivalent experience in the instrumentation
  • Five (5) years’ of meaningful work experience in technologies used in astronomical
  • “Hands-on” expertise and general safe-handling practices with scientific instrumentation and equipment.


Apply to join a skilled and deeply committed team of professionals who enable exciting and important astronomical discoveries. Submit a cover letter and resume telling us how your background and passion relate to the position. Go to https://keckobservatory.applicantpro.com/jobs

About Us

The WMKO operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes near the summit of Maunakea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

Read about us, our science and our mission, go to www.keckobservatory.org.


Keck Observatory offers a robust rewards package which includes a competitive salary; a broad benefits bundle including a 403(b) plan; a highly regarded tuition assistance program for dependent children (K-12 grade); professional development, and an unmatched focus on excellence.

26 November 2019
26 December 2019
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors