Advert. No. 2018_0048
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 European 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.


Due to the need for additional resources associated with the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre, for its Education and Public Outreach Department, within the Directorate for Science at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

ESO Supernova Presenter (Part-time 50%)


Vacancy closed on 20/01/2019

Deadline 20/01/2019

The ESO Education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD) is responsible for providing information about ESO's activities to the public in the Member States and beyond. ESO ePOD manages and performs public astronomy communication activities aimed at various target groups, including the media, the public, educators, the ESO user community, industrial partners and decision-makers. ePOD is based partly at the ESO Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, and partly in Santiago de Chile. These existing outreach activities and the new ESO Supernova -Planetarium & Visitor Centre make ESO an exciting global centre for astronomy outreach and education.

Having been open since April 2018, the ESO Supernova attracts approximately 8000 visitors per month and demand for visits continues to be high. This role represents an exciting opportunity for a science communicator to engage with a wide range of audiences in a range of settings. As a member of the education and Public Outreach Department, the ESO Supernova Presenter will be expected to deliver planetarium shows and outreach activities to audiences of all ages and abilities and to support the wider activities of the ESO Supernova.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The part-time 50% ESO Supernova Presenter will be responsible for contributing to the engaging programme of activities offered at the ESO Supernova for the general public and schools. The main tasks include:

  • Presenting planetarium shows in German and English for a wide range of audiences, from Kindergarten groups to amateur astronomy societies, including set up and switching off the planetarium;
  • Delivering guided tours in German and English through the exhibition and in the ESO Headquarters, for a wide variety of groups;
  • Responding to email and telephone enquiries relating to visits;
  • Delivering occasional public engagement activities for families;
  • Occasionally assisting with commercial events - mainly presenting shows or leading tours, but also occasional general event supervision;
  • Working closely and collaboratively with the team of volunteers to deliver the programme of activities;
  • Being available to occasionally answer questions after a show or tour, being careful to give accurate and up to date information, with confidence to say 'I don't know' if unsure;
  • Acting as shift manager when necessary, responsible for opening and securing the facility at the beginning and end of a shift;
  • Assisting the ESO Education Coordinator with set-up and occasional delivery of education workshops for school groups.

Reports to:

ESO Supernova Coordinator

Key Competences:

  • Effective and committed team player;
  • Excellent public speaking skills;
  • Comfortable presenting scientific content to audiences (both on a one-to-one basis and to larger groups);
  • A genuine demonstrated interest in science and astronomy;
  • Good time management skills;
  • A willingness to adapt delivery in response to visitor and wider team feedback;
  • Good customer service skills - patient and friendly;
  • Must be comfortable working in low-light conditions;
  • Ability to handle minor technical problems independently incl. being able to improvise live;
  • Willingness to learn about the planetarium technology and do trial and error to make unique, quality presentations for audiences.


  • Essential: Educated to degree level in Natural or Physical Sciences, or Engineering;
  • Desirable: A qualification in Science Communication;
  • Desirable: Educated in astronomy/astrophysics.


  • Essential: Demonstrable experience presenting science activities to a variety of groups;
  • Desirable: Planetarium experience.

Language Skills:

  • As the facility is bilingual, the position requires fluency in German (native or C2 level, both spoken and written) and a working knowledge of English (C1 minimum);
  • Knowledge of an additional language spoken in an ESO Member State is an advantage.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (tax free), comprehensive health insurance, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family and the possibility to place your child/children in daycare.

The initial contract is for a fixed term duration of one year with the possibility of a fixed-term extension subject to individual performance and organisational requirements, in particular for the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich

Work Schedule

The basic work schedule is 20 hours per week and requires a significant degree of flexibility with regards to also being available to work some public holidays, weekends and evenings to support (the five day week: Wednesday - Sunday) facility operations including telephone support.

Career Path: III


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit for further details.

Applicants are invited to apply online at Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV. Within your CV, please provide the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your work and willing to provide a recommendation letter upon request. Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.

Deadline for application is now extended to 31.01.2019

No nationality is in principle excluded, however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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