Employment With EAO/JCMT

EAO/JCMT Employment Opportunities


The East Asian Observatory embraces diversity and equal opportunity. We are committed to creating a team that welcomes different backgrounds, perspectives, experience and skills. A diverse team works better, and we commit to making a working environment in which everyone feels empowered.


EAO/JCMT Telescope System Specialist (Level 1 & 2) – ID #230109


JOB SUMMARY: Regular, Full-Time, position with the East Asian Observatory (EAO), located in Hilo, Hawaii. Continuation of employment is dependent upon program/operational needs, satisfactory work performance, availability of funds, and compliance with applicable Federal/State laws.

Operates the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), related computers, instruments and sub-systems. Works independently to operate the EAO/JCMT remotely from the Hilo base office with responsibility for the observatory for that operational shift. May also work at a remote site at high altitude. Has authority and is responsible for the safety of personnel onsite (base office and/or summit facilities) while operating. Interprets, assesses, advises and carries out instructions from international visiting scientists, engineers and technicians, some of whom may be unfamiliar with the facility and Maunakea.

As a condition of employment, employees will be subject to all applicable EAO policies and procedures. Violation of EAO’s policies and/or procedures or applicable State or Federal laws and/or regulations may lead to disciplinary action (including, but not limited to possible termination of employment, personal fines, civil and/or criminal penalties, etc.).

LEVEL OF INTERACTION: Position involves remote work at the Hilo base facility, generally on average a fourteen (14) hour shift schedule requiring for periods of two (2) five (5) night shifts per month. Some shifts may be carried out at the JCMT at the 14,000 feet summit of Maunakea, as directed by the EAO/JCMT management. When working on Maunakea travel to the JCMT worksite takes about thirty (30) minutes each way on a EAO/JCMT Telescope System Specialist II Effective Date: 7/01/2021 Page 2 of 5 high-altitude mountain road in a 4-wheel drive company vehicle. During any possible onsite observing these night shifts (plus an extra acclimatization period) the postholder will be away from home, residing in accommodation near the 9,000 ft. level at Hale Pohaku.

The position is highly interactive, requiring the postholder to advise and assist visiting international scientists, engineers and technicians, some of whom may be unfamiliar with the facility and Maunakea. High levels of interpersonal skills are therefore required to deal with visiting observers or staff. The postholder needs to be familiar with a unique set of complex electrical, mechanical, electronic, and computer systems, and have the ability to detect malfunctions or degraded performance. The postholder will have the ability to fix or patch essential and non-essential systems, mostly under guidance and/or supervision, in order to maintain the operability of the observatory. May go to the University of Hawaii/Infrared Telescope (UH/IRT) for adjustments, as needed.


90% 1. Operates the JCMT, related computers, instruments, and sub-systems. Selects and runs the scientific program (from a subset of allocated projects) to be undertaken according to preset priorities as well as target observability and weather constraints. Maintains quality control of these observations. As appropriate, and when required, interacts with and provides professional support to astronomers in their use of the telescope, software, and instrumentation throughout the observing period.

Prepares the observatory for night-time operation, including end-of-day checks, general inspection of safety items, and starts computer systems. Monitors weather conditions, closes dome and safely evacuates personnel as required.

Monitors telescope and instrument performance via pointing, focus, instrument calibration and atmospheric parameters. Performs first-line troubleshooting of faults with antenna, instruments, and software when they occur.

Maintains a good understanding of the instrumentation setup, configuration, observing modes, and reduction techniques to a level which enables and ensures that the observer’s program is correctly followed and their data is safely stored and archived; informs observers of changes that require switching queue programs or instruments.

Ensures the nightly observing log is kept up-to-date and that accurate records of the observations are made, including necessary telescope daytime maintenance tasks that are required to keep the observatory and instruments functional, and instrumentation configurations, and observing conditions.

Assumes responsibility for the safety of personnel and the facility during night-time operations and ensuring the EAO/JCMT safety policies and procedures are followed by all personnel present at the facility. Ensures that the observatory is safely closed, secured and is shutdown correctly at the end of each night.

5% 2. Attends meetings in Hilo as required, particularly the weekly EAO/JCMT Operations Meeting and training courses when necessary.

5% 3. Improves and broadens knowledge of the antenna, instrumentation and other associated equipment by taking an active part in the training process, which will be provided by the EAO/JCMT.

4. Performs other duties as assigned.


Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four (4) year college or university in Physical Science (including Engineering) or closely related field (At least three (3) years of directly relevant experience working at an observatory or similar scientific facility may substitute for a Bachelor’s Degree).

Experience: None. (Advancement to Level II requires at least one (1) year of experience operating the JCMT telescope and demonstrated ability to perform all job functions).

Knowledge: Experience and familiarity with working on computer systems at a proficient level. Ability to acquire a rapid understanding of hard disk parameters; file manipulation; Linux (Operating System) command language syntax; basic Linux error message interpretation; and use of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) built on Linux platforms.

Abilities/Skills: Ability to clearly explain concepts and procedures to visiting astronomers and precise written communication skills. Demonstrable problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills.

Must possess a valid driver’s license and maintain throughout the duration of employment. Must be able to drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle with manual transmission (or be able to drive these vehicles following appropriate training). If personal vehicle will be used for business purpose: Must possess proof of personal vehicle insurance and maintain throughout the duration of employment. Must also provide the EAO Human Resources Department with driver’s license information and keep current throughout the duration of employment. Failure to meet this requirement or falsification of documents may result in disciplinary action including and up to termination of employment.

Post Offer/Employment Conditions: Must possess the American Red Cross Certification in First Aid/CPR/AED (or be able to obtain and maintain the certificate following the training provided within three (3) months from date of hire) and maintain throughout duration of employment.

Must be able to pass a post-offer high altitude medical examination. Must possess proof of high altitude clearance and maintain throughout the duration of employment.

Physical and/or Medical Demands: Must be able to work at 14,000 feet for on average thirteen (13) hour shifts for periods of five to six (5–6) days.

SECONDARY QUALIFICATIONS: Technical background and experience in the operation of scientific facilities. Familiarity with the principles of astronomy and electronics. Competence working within the Unix/Linux operating system.

INQUIRIES: Dan Bintley (808) 961-3756 or email careers@eaobservatory.org

MINIMUM SALARY: Salary commensurate with qualifications.

How To Apply: You must submit the following documents to be considered for the position: cover letter, resume, (3) supervisory references (contact details including email address), and a copy of any educational degrees and/or certifications relevant to the position. All submissions must be received by the closing date stated on the job posting via email to careers@eaobservatory.org, fax (808/961-6516) or on location at 660 N. A’ohoku Place, Hilo.

Closing Date: 13 January 2023

EEO/AA Employer



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