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A full list of employment opportunities with both the Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory can be found via the links below. For openings at the Observatory, select 'McDonald Observatory' as the hiring organization. Listings will include both Austin and Fort Davis, TX.

Jobs will be posted here when open.

Superintendent of McDonald Observatory


The Superintendent of McDonald Observatory is responsible for the day-to-day management of McDonald Observatory. They provide supervision for west Texas staff (50 people) of a 24/7 remote facility. Areas of management include: administration, Astronomers' Lodge, observing support, physical plant, safety office. The Superintendent leads remote observing programs and interacts with researchers. They maintain a relationship with the HET Facility Manager and supports McDonald-HET cooperation.

This position is based at McDonald Observatory; the successful candidate will be required to reside on-site. Occasional travel to UT Austin is required. Weekend and night work are expected based on needs.

The Superintendent is a member of the senior management team to the Director. They coordinate with tenant facilities to ensure that research operations run smoothly, works with the Director and development to host official visitors and potential donors, and works with the Assistant Director for Administration to maintain operating policies and procedures. They establish a safety culture for the Observatory. The Superintendent is the senior member for residential emergency efforts and participates in the local community, promoting the observatory. They support the observatory residential community.

Required Qualifications

Bachelor's Degree in science or engineering. Five years of executive level management experience of a research group or similar organization. Supervisory, program development, budget preparation and financial management experience.

Preferred Qualifications

Master's or Doctoral Degree in astronomy or related technical discipline, more than five years’ experience in management of a research group or similar organization.

Driving Required: Requires class "C" operator's driver's license.

Apply Attention To:  Taft Armandroff, Director McDonald Observatory

Required for application:


   3 work references

   Letter of interest

Detailed posting and instructions to apply:




HET Science Operations Manager

Job Description:

Science Operations Manager for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at the McDonald Observatory will provide leadership, high quality science, and technical support in the science operations of the HET, including managing the HET science and engineering operations, supervising night time operations, monitoring and reporting on HET optical and instrumentation performance, data acquisition and reduction.

Job Details:

General Notes

This position is the science operations manager at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET), which operates on a 24/7 schedule. Position is located at McDonald Observatory, 16 miles from Ft. Davis, Texas (440 miles west of UT Austin campus). Occasionally expected to respond to failures and business needs relating to the telescope outside normal work hours (nights, weekends, and holidays). Residence in the Observatory's residential community is available. Position may be subject to "call-back" as an essential employee for emergencies or critical response.

  • Manage HET science and engineering support operations: Coordinate with engineering and special program leads to facilitate HET Board discussions of these allocations and produce Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) allocations. Manage the HET observing queue and resolve time conflicts. Work closely with science and engineering staff to specify and conduct night time engineering tests and analyze/reduce data/results as needed.
  • Conduct personal research: Become an active user of the Observatory instruments to contribute to the scientific life at the Observatory. Participate in outreach activities such as giving public talks, tours of the facility, and attending colloquia. Submit research proposal to outside funding agencies as principal investigator (PI) or on research grants/contracts.
  • Monitor and report on science operations: Lead operations meetings. Oversee HET Observing Metrics and report to the HET Board, Time Allocation Committees and Users Committee on HET science operations performance and time usage.
  • Conduct night operations: Serve as a resident astronomer approximately two nights per month, or as needed, in the night operations team to conduct science observations, on behalf of HET users, using facility instruments and based upon queue priorities, weather conditions and facility constraints.
  • Supervise HET night time operations staff: Manage projects to improve operations. Monitor and evaluate work performance. Supervise training.
  • Conduct projects to improve operations.
  • Conduct day time operations: Support day time engineering testing, including instrument commissioning tests as needed and daily telescope functional tests on a rotation basis.
  • Observatory operations: Participate in Observatory wide duties and serve as deputy facility manager.
  • Other duties as assigned. An essential employee will act as a member of the McDonald Observatory's Emergency Response Team that responds to fire, medical, or other emergencies that threatens or interferes with the normal operations.
Required Qualifications

Doctoral degree in astronomy or closely related field. Five years demonstrated experience working in a collaborative service astronomy role. Two or more years experience in a scientific operational leadership and management role, including managing diverse teams of research staff. Significant research experience in data science and operations. Proven record of objectivity and the ability to coordinate and direct research project activities, and to meet reporting and project deadlines. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Excellent interpersonal communication skills and professional demeanor. Ability and willingness to work some nights, weekends and holidays to assist in conducting science operations. Relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

More than the minimum years of experience with optical and near-IR spectroscopy using high, medium and low-resolution spectrographs.  Three years of experience with fiber fed integral field spectroscopy.   Willingness to adapt to changing research programs and project needs.  Proven ability to interact with scientific principal investigators, the public, and industry stakeholders on complex astronomical topics.  

Driving Required

This job requires a class "C" operator's driver's license. The applicant selected must provide a current three year driving record from the current state of residence. If not currently a Texas resident, a Texas driver's license must be obtained within 30 days of becoming a Texas resident.

Salary Range

$100,000 + depending on qualifications

Working Conditions
  • May work in all weather conditions and extreme temperatures
  • May work around standard office conditions
  • May work around chemical and chemical fumes
  • May work around electrical and mechanical hazards
  • Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation
  • Climbing of stairs
  • Climbing of ladders
  • Lifting and moving up to 50 pounds
  • Wearing appropriate safety equipment when working with chemicals or working at heights up to 90 ft in varied climate conditions
Work Shift
  • Generally M-F, 8am - 5pm. Typically 40 hour work weeks including night and weekend work.  Flexibility is essential given that we operate 24/7/365.

  • Required to conduct some shifts of night operations.

  • Occasional interstate, intrastate and international travel.

Required Materials
  • Resume/CV
  • 3 work references with their contact information; at least one reference should be from a supervisor
  • Letter of interest

Earliest Start Date:


Position Duration:

Expected to Continue



Ft. Davis, TX


To apply:  https://utaustin.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/UTstaff/job/MCDONALD-OBSERVATORY/HET-Science-Operations-Manager_R_00005890