W. M. Keck Observatory
  • competitive salary
  • Salary

4 weeks of annual paid vacation, 100%-paid employee health insurance, a 403(b) plan, a highly regarded tuition assistance program for dependent children (K-12 grade), and an unmatched focus on excellence

W. M. Keck Observatory in Kamuela, HI is looking to hire an Astronomical Observing Assistant. Do you have a background in physical science or experience at an observatory? Would you like the opportunity to work closely with astronomers in helping them gather their data? Do you like to have regular long stretches of time off? Would you like to join a team that takes care of its employees? If so, please keep reading!

This position earns a competitive salary with lots of room for growth. We also provide great benefits and perks, including 4 weeks of annual paid vacation, 100%-paid employee health insurance, a 403(b) plan, a highly regarded tuition assistance program for dependent children (K-12 grade), and an unmatched focus on excellence. If this sounds like the right opportunity for you, apply today!


From Hawaii's Maunakea, astronomers around the world use our observatory to observe the universe with unprecedented power and precision. Our twin observatory telescopes are the world's most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes! With our highly advanced technology, we focus on service and stewardship and are very committed to being the science leader in large land-based telescopes. We support the mission of the observatory and work to unravel the mysteries of the universe!

Each employee is a part of our mission. We provide meaningful jobs and a lively place to pursue careers. Employees are able to work with a variety of equipment and scientific applications for the good of humanity and pure science. We work in a wonderful setting and environment and are passionate about what we do. We're looking for more individuals to join us!


As an Astronomical Observing Assistant, you have a mission-critical role in making nights of science take place. To prepare for observing, you help configure the facility, telescope, and related equipment at the summit. You operate the telescope and other equipment support for the visiting astronomers, helping them to meet their science goals through optimal use of the facility. In addition to ensuring the safety of the personnel and equipment, you efficiently take data throughout the night. If any software problems occur, you troubleshoot to resolve them. You drive our vehicles to carry staff and self to and from the observatory in a safe manner.

To ensure that persons and equipment are not placed in jeopardy, you terminate the observing session if conditions warrant. During the day, you help with processing instrument and optical test data, software development, and developing documentation. In order to better support astronomers in the absence of a support astronomer or instrument scientist, you train in the operation of the scientific instruments. You also participate in training new observing assistants. For some meetings and training, you go out to our headquarters in Waimea. You find working with astronomers on the frontlines of science to be educational and exciting!


  • Bachelor's degree in a physical science field OR two years of experience at an astronomical observatory
  • Ability to work nights at a high altitude of 14,000 feet
  • Computer literacy
  • Valid driver's license and a good driving record
  • Ability to be away from home for the time that you are on duty

Knowledge about astronomy and astronomical observing procedures is preferred but multiple factors will be taken into consideration. Any mechanical or electronic skills would be a plus! Are you attentive to safety and security? Do you have good interpersonal and communication skills? Are you open to the ideas and thoughts of others? Do you have effective collaborative and relationship-building skills? Are you a motivated self-starter who can effectively prioritize multiple tasks? Do you thrive in a fast-paced environment? Are you respectful, considerate, professional, and tactful? Do you accept responsibility for your own actions and remain calm when under pressure? If so, you might just be perfect for this Astronomical Observing Assistant!


This full-time position generally works 5 nights on, followed by 7 days off. Remaining in residence at the mid-level facility at 9,500 feet is required during the time on duty. Meetings are held on a bi-weekly basis at our headquarters in Waimea.


If you feel that you would be perfect for this night observatory job, apply now using our initial 3-minute, mobile-friendly application. We can't wait to hear from you!

Location: 96743

W. M. Keck Observatory
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