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Assistant Optical Engineer

AURA Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., La Serena, Chile
Employer Description

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA. 

Job Description

NSF’s NOIRLab is seeking an Assistant Optical Engineer to be part of the Optical Engineering (OE) group, within the Engineering Services (ES) division, a distributed team of 10 optical experts providing excellence in optical design and analysis, optical maintenance and coating for Telescopes.

NOIRLab is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) and is the US national center for ground-based night-time astronomy. Principally sponsored by the National Science Foundation, NOIRLab operates and provides services across a range of Observatory Programs (including Gemini Observatory) with facilities in three geographic locations: Arizona, Chile and Hawai’i. 

The Assistant Optical Engineer will participate in testing, troubleshooting and, maintaining optical systems and coating plants of the NOIRLab programs in Chile. The Assistant Optical Engineer will be responsible for providing expertise to all aspects of optics for telescopes and must apply his/her experience to maximize the performance of existing optical subsystems. Depending on experience, the candidate may be required to participate in instrument development.

This position provides a unique opportunity to work in an international collaborative environment and to participate in a wide variety of projects for large and mid-scale observatories. Within the Optical Engineering group, the Assistant Optical Engineer will be primarily assigned to the Mid-Scale Observatory South (MSO-S) a Program of NOIRLab in Chile with regular collaboration with other programs (Gemini). It comprises Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, the Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) and the Small and Medium Astronomical Research Telescope System (SMARTS) on Cerro Tololo. Travel to the US may be required to other NOIRLab facilities for short periods of time.

Essential Functions:

  • Planning and execution of mirror cleaning and washing process.
  • Periodic telescope image quality checks and optical system performance follow-up.
  • Maintenance and testing of coating plants.
  • Participates in the coating process across NOIRLab programs.
  • Participates in planning and execution of telescope and instrument shutdowns.
  • Optical integration and testing of delicate and complex astronomical instruments.
  • Troubleshoots malfunctioning optical equipment.
  • Analyzes data to characterize optical systems and identify causes.
  • Writes technical reports.
  • Identifies technical performance gaps.
  • Works in cross-functional project teams with colleagues in other branches of engineering (mechanics, electronics, software) and other NOIRLab programs.
  • Keeps up to date with developments in technologies.
  • Ensures safety regulations are met

Other Functions:

  • Other duties as assigned by supervisor.
Job Requirements

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • University Degree in Experimental Physics and Photonics/Optical Engineering (Msc) or other Engineering Fields with demonstrated experience in Optics.
  • Professional certification in Optical system design with Zemax Optics Studio.
  • Knowledge of Opto-mechanics and mechanical software (SolidWorks).
  • Knowledge of mirror coating process.
  • 3 years of experience in a similar position.
  • Good command of English and Spanish oral, reading and writing.
  • Knowledge of Optical aberration.
  • Ability to manipulate fragile components, dexterity.
  • Knowledge of Telescope optics.
  • Some practical experience with alignment tools.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary and international environment.
  • Great team spirit.
  • Self-learning.
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License; clean driving record; ability to drive a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Knowledge of adaptive optics.
  • Knowledge of laser systems.
  • Knowledge with Optical engineering software (Zemax OpticStudio).
  • Hands-on laboratory experience, or some observatory experience.
  • Familiarity with data analysis software (OriginLab, Matlab, Excel, Python).
  • Ability to present work in conferences.

If you would like to apply for this opportunity, please submit your CV/Resume along with a Cover Letter in English (PDF files preferred). Also, kindly provide contact information of 3 professional references in your application, as references will be contacted later in the recruiting process. 

For full consideration please submit your application by November 30, 2020. Please name any attachments with the following format: LastnameDocname. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to employment@aura-astronomy.org

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at employment@aura-astronomy.org 

At NOIRLab we are committed to diversity and inclusion; our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, 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 http://www.aura-astronomy.org/diversity.asp 

AURA offers competitive salaries based on market rates and a generous package of benefits.  

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA. 

** NOIRLab has all staff working virtually during the COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended and arrangements may be made for remote work. Relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported.

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.

JOB DETAILS
POSTED
05 November 2020
CLOSES
05 December 2020
JOB TYPE
Full-Time
REQUIRED EDUCATION
Bachelor's Degree
ANNUAL SALARY (US Dollars)
Open
JOB FUNCTION
Engineer
FIELD
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors