Advert. No. 2018_0049
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 Technical Assistant (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 an engineer to join our small team.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The part-time 50% ESO Supernova Technical Assistant will be principally responsible for the planetarium and exhibition technology and will play a key role in realising our ambitions for the technical delivery of our programme. This role represents an exciting opportunity for an engineer with technical/planetarium/multimedia background to support the smooth running of a busy visitor centre and planetarium. The main tasks include:

  • Exhibition technical maintenance: daily bug-fixing in the exhibition, performing smaller repairs, and coordinating repairs of technical equipment;
  • Planetarium content maintenance: Ensuring shows in the daily and weekly programming are installed and tested in a timely fashion (Interface programming in Digistar, PowerDome and Uniview, incl. events);
  • PC Inventory management (incl. warranty management) of ePOD's 600 PCs, screens, projectors, printers etc., interface with ESO Helpdesk for their maintenance, maintenance of the ePOD Render Farm ('30 PCs running Cinema 4D);
  • Planetarium in-house technical maintenance: manage and service all planetarium optical, electrical and mechanical equipment in the Planetarium (Velvet projectors, Powerdome cluster, VJ PC, Digistar 6 cluster, cove lights, audio interfaces incl. DSP, DMX components Creston interfaces, DisplayPort switches, Zeiss and E&S Alignment systems, streaming, stage spots, and speaker lectern controls;
  • Occasional technical support for commercial events.

Reports to:

ESO Supernova Coordinator

Key Competences:

  • Effective and committed team player;
  • Good working knowledge of health and safety;
  • Good time management skills;
  • Demonstrated familiarity with software programming;
  • Ability to handle technical problems independently incl. being able to improvise live;
  • Willingness to learn about the planetarium technology;
  • Ability to follow and create departmental procedures and workflows;
  • Highly structured, good organisational skills and result-oriented approach - delivering prompt and efficient service on multiple concurrent projects under tight deadlines;
  • Must be comfortable working in low-light conditions.


  • Essential: Educated to degree level with a BSc in Engineering, Astronomy, Computer Sciences or comparable.


  • Essential: Demonstrable hands-on experience maintaining audio-visual installations: optics, electronics, mechanics, audio, video, DMX automation systems;
  • Desirable: Two years of experience in maintaining and operating planetarium equipment including technical knowledge of projection equipment, optics, audio, video, DMX automation systems (hardware, software and protocols), computer hardware and software, and proven ability to learn new software applications;
  • Desirable: Experience with Evans & Sutherland's Digistar software, Sciss' Uniview and Zeiss' Powerdome software suite;
  • Desirable: Some experience with Crestron systems.

Language Skills:

  • The position requires fluency in English (native or C2 level, both spoken and written);
  • A working knowledge of German would also be 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 and occasional "on-call" or remote support work.

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 20.01.2019

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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