Advert. No. 2020_0010
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 Science Operations Department at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, in Chile, ESO is advertising a Local Staff Member Position of:

Telescope Instruments Operator


Vacancy closed on 07/07/2020

Deadline 07/07/2020

The successful candidate will operate the "Very Large Telescope" units, as well as the smaller telescopes at Paranal observatory, together with their attached scientific instruments.

The Telescope Instruments-operators of the Paranal Science Operations Department work in close collaboration with the astronomers performing and analysing the observations. The Science Operations Department consists of 60 persons of more than a dozen different nationalities.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

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, monitoring weather conditions so to protect the telescope in case of dangerous situation and performing basic quality control of the astronomical data obtained. Perform basic troubleshooting of the telescopes and instruments. Report, track and assist the department members in diagnosing and resolving (technical & scientific) problems. Additional duties and responsibilities can be added according to qualification and motivation, such as, definition, review, implementation of operation procedures or documentation, monitoring and characterization of instruments/systems performances, etc.

Reports to:

Telescope Instrument Operator Group Leader

Key Competences and Experience:

Several years of experience operating high technology systems, and/or working in a position requiring real-time risk assessment and decision is highly desirable.

We look for highly motivated persons, with good interpersonal skills, ability to work in teams and an interest in scientific work.

An operative knowledge of LINUX/UNIX is a prerequisite. Proficiency in at least one programming language (preferably python) is highly desirable.


We seek professionals with a university degree in software or electronics engineering, natural science, or a superior technical degree in a scientific or technical field. A (formal) background in atmosphere-physics would be an asset.

Language Skills:

ESO is an international organization where the official language is English. It is required that the candidate has a good common of written and spoken English.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and educational 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 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:

Paranal Observatory, located 120 km south of the city of Antofagasta, Chile. The working schedule will be a 7-night shift on-site, followed by 7 nights off duty with accommodation provided on site. Place of residence shall be either Santiago or Antofagasta.

Career Path: IV


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit for further details. Non-Chilean applicants to this role must reside in Chile and have a pertinent working permit, according to Chilean regulations, at the time of their application. ESO is committed to equal opportunities. The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

Applicants are invited to apply online at Applications should include a motivation letter and CV in English. References may be required. Interviews will be held in English.

Closing date for applications 7 July 2020

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