Advert. No. 2017_0045
Working at ESO

Are you interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment? Do you feel your profile matches our requirements? Learn more about our current vacancies and apply online. Read more..

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive ground-based astronomical observatory. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in northern Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor (home to ALMA and APEX), and the ESO Headquarters are located in Garching, near Munich, Germany. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.


For its Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department (MSE) at the Paranal Observatory, ESO is inviting students from Chilean universities to participate in our program:

Summer Studentship 2018


Vacancy closed on 02/10/2017

Deadline 02/10/2017

The MSE Department of the Paranal Observatory provides technical support to the four VLT 8-m telescopes, to the VLT Interferometer with its auxiliary telescopes and to all instruments available for scientific observations. The telescopes and instruments are complex systems that involve many advanced technologies and require a high level of engineering support. The MSE Department of Paranal has a total workforce of 67 engineers and technicians distributed in 5 engineering groups. The four projects for the period January-February 2018 are:

I.- Electronic Group: "Meteorological tower Sensors Upgrade; VAISALA MAWS 100 programming"

In the context of the Meteorological Tower Upgrade, the new VAISALA stations must be programed in order to send the proper report of data, according to NEW ASM requirements. This involves the use of the special VAISALA language for programming and for setting the sensors. Manuals for this are available plus the internet information. With this help we could accelerate the conclusion of the Meteo-tower obsolescence plan.


  • The generation of a new Report with the desired timing and variables trough internet.
  • To generate a step by step guide for configuring stations.

Student Profile

  • Electronic Engineer with general programming knowledge.
  • Good command in English (written and spoken)

II.- Electronic Group: "Configuration of New Motor Amplifiers for M3 Tower"

Before the end of this year, there will be a finished a document and a CCB proposal for upgrading the motor amplifiers of M3 Tower system. This is in the context of obsolescence. All required material will be purchased before the starting of the students' work. To simplify space and electrical interface issues, the proposed upgrade consists of a separate rack containing the new amplifiers and an adequate way to connect to the LCU and field.


  • Participation in the preparation and assembly of the upgrade.
  • Configuration of Motor Amplifiers.
  • Perform tests in Laboratory.
  • Create a technical document with procedures and setup information.

Student profile Skills in the following fields are desirable:

  • Electronics.
  • Automatic Control.
  • Motors.
  • Motor Drives.
  • Good command in English (written and spoken)

III.- Electronics Group: "Energy Quality Survey"

By the end of 2017, Paranal will be connected to the Chilean Grid. It will be important to measure the energy quality in all distribution level of Paranal site (included UPS). Many times when problems occur on the equipments, the quality of energy is mentioned. This survey should clarify this.


  • Identify where to make the measurements.
  • Make the measurements
  • Analyze the measurements
  • Edit a report with the status and propose solutions of problems clearly identified.

Student profile

  • Electrical or Electronical Engineer.
  • Good command in English (written and spoken)

IV.- System and Optics Group: "Update of existing performance monitoring routines / notebooks"

With the introduction of "datalab" and the switch to Python as main data analysis package, it is necessary to modify and translate the existing routines so that they can be used in the new environment. These modifications are crucial in order to provide continued, and up-to-date performance monitoring support with easy access to "datalab".


  • Modify existing routines and notebooks so that they used "datalab" instead of AutRep and HDF5
  • Translate existing Matlab routines into Python (TBC)
  • In coordination with PSW work on the integration of new data sources into datalab
  • Create new performance monitoring notebooks and routines for UT's and VLTI

Student profile

  • Either SW / computer engineering
  • or physics student with a strong background in python, matlab, databases and time series data analysis.
  • Should be proficient in English.

We Offer:

ESO offers a special allowance during the period you are performing your apprenticeship with us; transportation arrangements (plane tickets) from and to Santiago are provided by ESO, with accommodation provided on site. The Duty Station is Paranal Observatory, in the II Region, 150km South of Antofagasta. Working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6). The period of the apprenticeship is January-February 2018.


We invite all students from Chilean Universities in their career's last period to apply. The apprenticeship should be supported by the University and therefore covered by the accident insurance (Law 16.744).If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, you are invited to apply online Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivational letter indicating the project you are interested to apply to, and CV.

Closing date for applications is 2 October 2017.

The post is equally open to suitably qualified male and female applicants.

Contact us