W. M. Keck Observatory
  • 18-Apr-2017 to 17-May-2017 (HST)


Under the supervision of the Night Attendant Supervisor, The Night Attendant (NA) works to maintain safe, secure, productive conditions during night operations of the observatory to maximize observing efficiency. The NA Performs cryogen fills, telescope/instrument reconfigurations, and slitmask milling as required as well as troubleshoot nighttime problems independently or with a team. This position is required to work day shifts as needed.

Essential Functions

  • Maintain familiarity with observatory emergency procedures to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
  • Provide operational support, on the summit of Mauna Kea during nighttime operations, to maximize observing efficiency and minimize the consequences of personnel accidents or illness.
  • Regularly patrol the building interior, including machinery rooms, to check for improper operation of equipment.
  • Maintain a security and weather watch, as requested by the Observing Assistant (OA) to assure that the OA is kept aware of conditions.
  • Perform slitmask milling as required, ensure milled masks meet quality specifications, and maintain housekeeping of mill and associated equipment and supplies to assure that slitmasks are available when needed.
  • Work as a team with the OA and other observatory staff to troubleshoot technical problems involving instruments, telescope systems and facilities.
  • Work as a team with the OA to shut down the facility at the conclusion of observations, assuring that instruments are properly filled with cryogen and other steps are taken to secure the facility.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Drive a WMKO vehicle to and from the observatory to transport self, others and materials to and from the summit.
  • Perform other duties consistent with the scope of this position.

Required Qualifications

  • Five (5) years' of work experience in a responsible position (possible time combined of work and education).
  • Mechanical experience.
  • Electrical experience.
  • Familiarity with basic hand tools.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Electronics design and fabrication.



  • Basic computer skills.
  • Ability to coordinate multiple tasks concurrently in a fast-paced dynamic environment.
  • Motivated, self-starter who can manage multiple tasks and priorities within a fast paced environment.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule to support night-time operations.
  • Ability to support daytime operations by working day-shifts as needed.

Certificates and Licenses

  • Valid driver's license and clean abstract.


To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Communication: Ability to communicate effectively and concisely at all levels.
  • Interpersonal skills: Ability to build collaborative, effective relationships with staff.
  • Professionalism: Approaches others in a tactful manner; reacts well under pressure; treats others with respect and consideration; accepts responsibility for own actions; follows through on commitments.

 Other Requirements

  • Willingness to commit to WMKO core values: Safety, Integrity, Respect, Discovery and Service.
  • Willingness to commit to WMKO cultural values: Education/Learning, Communication, Teamwork, Rewarding Work Environment, Excellence, Community Involvement.
  • Willingness and ability to work nights and weekends to support night-time operations.

Physical Demands

These physical demands are representative of the physical requirements necessary for an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. This is not a complete list of the physical demands that may be required.

  •  Stand: Remain on one's feet in an upright position at a workstation without moving about.
  • Walk: Move about on foot.
  • Lift: Raise or lower an object from one level to another (includes upward pulling) up to 75 pounds.
  • Vision: Color vision - Ability to identify and distinguish colors.
  • Hearing: Perceive the nature of sounds at normal speaking levels with or without correction, and having the ability to receive detailed information through oral communication, and making fine discriminations in sound.
  • Carry: Transport an object, usually holding it in the hands or arms, or on the shoulder.
  • Push: Exert force upon an object so that the object moves away from the force (Includes slapping, striking, kicking and treadle actions).
  • Pull: Exert force upon an object so that the object moves toward the force (includes jerking).
  • Climb: Ascend or descend ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles using feet and legs or hands and arms. Body agility is emphasized.
  • Balance: Maintain body equilibrium to prevent falling when walking, standing, crouching, or running on narrow, slippery, or erratically moving surfaces.
  • Stoop: Bend body downward and forward by bending spine at the waist, requiring full use of the lower extremities and back muscles.
  • Handle: Seize, hold, grasping, turn, or otherwise work with hand or hands. Fingers are involved only to the extent that they are an extension of the hand, such as to turn a switch or shift automobile gears.
  • Ability to pass a high altitude physical.
  • Ability to work at the Observatory (14,000 feet elevations).
  • Ability to stay at the mid-level (9,000 feet) facility between adjacent work nights.

 Environmental Conditions

These environmental conditions are representative of what an employee will encounter while performing the essential functions of the job. This is not a complete list of the environmental conditions that may be encountered.

  • Exposure to weather: Subject to extreme cold. Temperatures can be below 32 degrees for periods of more than one hour. Consideration should be given to the effect of other environmental conditions such as wind and humidity.
  • Subject to Noise: There is sufficient noise to cause the worker to shout in order to be heard above the ambient noise level.
  • Subject to Hazards: Moving mechanical parts.
  • Subject to constrained spaces: Required to function in narrow aisles or passageways.

The above information on this job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by an employee in this classification.  It is not to be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory, or all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications of employees assigned to this job.  Management has the right to add to, revise, or delete information in this description.  Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.


W. M. Keck Observatory
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