Advert. No. 2019_0055
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 the APEX operations support group within the Directorate of Operations at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

APEX Support Astronomer


Vacancy closed on 24/11/2019

Deadline 24/11/2019

Key tasks of the APEX Support Astronomer are as follows:

  • Actively participate in the ESO APEX service observations in Chile;
  • Help to maximize the science return of the ESO observations on the APEX telescope;
  • Act as shift leader of a small team of observers.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will assist the head of the APEX support group with the following tasks:

  • Help Principle Investigators during Phase I (proposal submission);
  • Perform technical assessment on accepted proposals;
  • Help Principle Investigators to prepare Phase II;
  • Run observations at Sequitor and Chajnantor on behalf of ESO Principle Investigators;
  • Check the quality of the data before delivery.

As the successful applicant will not be part of the astronomy faculty, no formal time allocation is foreseen to conduct personal scientific research.

Reports to:

Head of the APEX operations support group in Garching.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • At least 3 years of experience observing with sub-millimetre single dish telescopes;
  • A good understanding of heterodyne and bolometer instrumentation and their data reduction tools such as CLASS and BoA;
  • A track record of managing and coordinating teams of observers and ability to motivate and lead personnel;
  • Excellent English verbal and written communication skills;
  • Possess the needed soft skills, but also the firmness and the endurance to perform effectively on a remote site with local and international staff.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Scientific use and publications of results obtained with APEX instruments;
  • Experience with calibration plans for heterodyne and bolometer instruments.


PhD in Astronomy, Physics or equivalent.

Language skills:

The position requires a working knowledge of English. A working knowledge of Spanish, or a willingness to learn it, would be advantageous.

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 and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany with regular duty trips to the APEX base camp (2400m elevation) near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, and to the APEX telescope on Chajnantor (5100m elevation). As defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations, performing duties at altitudes exceeding 3000 m above sea level, requires regular medical assessments to ensure physical fitness.

Career Path: V


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 applications is 24 November 2019.

Interviews will be held immediately afterwards to enable a start date as soon as possible.

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, the United Kingdom and Chile irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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