Advert. No. 2019_0019
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, and will host and operate the southern array of the Cherenkov Telescope Array, the world's largest and most sensitive high energy gamma-ray 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 (ELT), which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.


For its Day and Night Operations Support Department at La Silla Paranal Observatory, within the Directorate of the La Silla Paranal Observatory, ESO is advertising the position of

Telescope and Instruments Operator

La Silla

Vacancy closed on 16/06/2019

Deadline 16/06/2019

La Silla Observatory is part of the La Silla Paranal Observatory and is actually operating 2 telescopes (3.6m and NTT) with their associated instruments and giving support to remotely controlled telescopes (REM, TAROT and TRAPPIST) as well to national telescopes like the Swiss Euler 1.2m telescope or Danish 1.54m.

The Day and Night Operations Support (DNOS) is a group within La Silla Observatory structure in charge of the telescopes/instruments operations and the preparation during daytime of the observations regarding telescope and instruments startups or set ups. They are the front line to figure out any possible failures occurring during the night observations and reporting on internal systems (Night Log and Remedy)

The Day and Night Operations Support works in close collaboration with the visiting astronomers performing and analyzing the observations.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will mainly operate the two telescopes currently supported at the La Silla Observatory together with the attached scientific instruments.

She/He will perform the following duties:

  • Operate the telescopes and their astronomical instruments at maximum efficiency, while maintaining the security of people and equipment. This implies driving and monitoring the computer-controlled equipment, and monitoring weather conditions so to protect the telescope in case of dangerous situation.
  • Perform first line troubleshooting of the telescopes and instruments. Assist diagnosing problems so the support engineers can resolve them efficiently. Report and track problems, so to contribute to their resolution.
  • Prepare telescopes and instruments to perform the night observations, including start-ups and instrument setups.
  • Additional duties and responsibilities can be added according to qualification and motivation, such as, definition, review, implementation of operation procedures, of operation documentation (paper and web), contribution to the monitoring and characterization of the instrumentation, etc.

Reports to:

The successful candidate reports to the Head of Day and Night Operations Support at La Silla Observatory.

Key Competences and Experience:

We look for highly motivated persons, with interest in scientific work. The successful candidate has to be good interpersonal skills and ability to work in teams; The candidate must have the ability to develop good working relations at all levels. The candidate has to have the ability to take an objective approach when making decisions, securing the relevant information identifying key issues and relationships from base of information; identifying cause and effect relationship.

The candidate has to communicate clearly and expressively, both orally and in writing. An operative knowledge of LINUX/UNIX is pre-requisite for their work competences. Several years of experience operating high technology systems, and/or working in a position requiring real-time risk assessment and decision is highly desirable.


The successful candidate has a university degree in software or electronics engineering, or an equivalent superior technical degree in a scientific or technical field.

Language Skills:

As ESO is an international organization where the official language is English, it is required that the candidate has a good command of written and spoken English.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family (if needed). The initial contract is for a period of two years with the possibility of an indefinite extension, subject to evaluation. The title or grade may be subject to change according to qualification and the number of years of experience.

Duty Station:

La Silla Observatory is located about 160 km north of La Serena at an altitude of 2400 metres. The working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site.

Career Path:



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 (in English).

Deadline for applications is 16 June 2019.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

No nationality is excluded, however non-Chilean applicants must have the pertinent working permit, according to Chilean regulations, at the time of the application. The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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