W. M. Keck Observatory
  • 66426-79293 per year

4 weeks annual paid vacation + 8% 403(b) employer contribution (4% employee contribution) + 100%-paid employee health insurance + additional benefits

Are you looking for a job where you can be at the forefront of designing, developing, and optimizing cutting-edge adaptive optics (AO) capabilities? If so, you'll be thrilled to know that W. M. Keck Observatory in Kamuela, Hawaii, USA is hiring a full-time Adaptive Optics Postdoctoral Fellow. In this job, you would work at our renowned observatory and play a role in our 2035 scientific strategic plan, which prioritizes AO as a way to support enhanced seeing (i.e., ground-layer AO), visible wave-length science, and high-contrast science and technology development. Current projects include the implementation of a laser tomography system, a higher order deformable mirror and advanced wavefront control techniques. If this sounds like an exciting opportunity for you, please read on!


The starting salary range for this AO science and engineering position is $66,426 to $79,293 + 4 weeks annual paid vacation + 8% 403(b) employer contribution (4% employee contribution) + 100%-paid employee health insurance + additional benefits. If you have a passion for astronomy and would like to take advantage of this AO science and engineering opportunity, apply today!



From Hawaii's Maunakea, astronomers worldwide 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 ground-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 an exciting 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 Adaptive Optics Postdoctoral Fellow, you play a crucial role in the development and optimization of our adaptive optics systems. Your job is to take the lead in identifying new AO techniques and propose ways to improve performance. Each day, you are at the forefront of scientific discovery as you follow a concept through from proposal to development to operation. An avid learner, you seek to become an expert on our AO systems and to better understand the user community's needs so that you can ensure that they're addressed.

In addition, you use your excellent communication skills to maintain strong relationships with each of our stakeholders and to document new AO capabilities in order to support operations and development. As you conduct research to further the performance of our high angular resolution, your passion for discovery fuels your day. You enjoy participating in a dynamic team as we strive to see better!



  • Ph.D. in AO or high angular resolution astronomy OR equivalent experience

The following qualifications are preferred:

  • Experience with the development or optimization of AO systems for astronomy
  • Experience working at an observatory
  • A broad understanding of the multiple engineering disciplines needed to develop AO systems
  • Relevant experience to contribute to the AO team (e.g. real-time control).

Are you a team player? Do you have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written? Can you stick with a concept and see it through from proposal to completion? Do you possess leadership skills, including the ability to coach, mentor, and motivate your team members? If so, you might just be perfect for this AO science and engineering position.



This position works full-time. Some availability during nights and weekends will be needed. The normal work site is at the Observatory headquarters in Kamuela although occasional work will be required at the telescopes on the summit of Maunakea. The Observatory has a flexible work policy that allows for some remote work.



If you feel that you would be right for this adaptive optics postdoctoral fellow position, please fill out our initial 3-minute, mobile-friendly application. We look forward to meeting you!

Our salary ranges are determined by the role and level of the position. The range displayed on each job posting reflects the minimum and maximum starting base pay for new hire salaries for the position. Within the range, individual pay is determined by experience, skillset, and qualifications of the new hire. Should you be selected for an interview, the HR team will be happy to further discuss the compensation details of this position with you.

W. M. Keck Observatory
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