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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.

 

Electrical Engineer - Hobby-Eberly Telescope

Job Description:

This hands-on position maintains, designs and improves functionality of electrical, electronic,
electromechanical and electro-optical subsystems on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope to achieve the scientific
goals of McDonald Observatory.

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Job Details:

General Notes

This position is at McDonald Observatory, located 16 miles from Fort Davis, Texas (440 miles away from the UT Austin campus). The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) is a 24/7 operation and you may be expected to work at all hours of the day or night, weekends or holidays (when needed and within limits) to serve the scientifically needs of the Observatory and specifically the HET. Residence in the Observatory's residential community may be available and may be required. Position may be subject to “call-back” as an essential employee for emergency or critical response. Must be eligible to work in the US on a full-time basis for any employer without sponsorship.

Responsibilities

  • At the direction of the HET Engineering Manager, conducts tasks that modify, repair or reconfigure the HET electrical, electro-optical and electro-mechanical subsystems.
  • Attends and constructively participates in daily operations meetings, weekly HET staff meetings and periodic technical reviews.
  • Works constructively and cooperatively with McDonald Observatory Austin technical staff on HET engineering improvements.
  • Provides daily reporting of your activities.
  • Provides input into long-term planning and technical direction for HET engineering tasks. Works cooperatively and constructively with the HET electrical and mechanical teams to aid in implementing and conducting a professional program of preventive maintenance on HET electrical, electro-mechanical and electro-optical systems.
  • Periodically performs operations engineering duty.
  • Responds as necessary to night-time repair and maintenance calls from telescope operations staff.
  • Other related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

Master's degree in electrical engineering and two years of related experience, or Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and four years of related experience. Ability to do hands on work to repair and refurbish existing equipment and electronics as well as design and build new systems. Candidates should have the work ethic and drive to maximize the scientific output of the telescope. Strong verbal, written, and interpersonal communications skills. ability to be adaptable, work independently, and as an integral member of a project team. Relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

Knowledge and/or working experience in motion controls and industrial controls. Knowledge of electrical code and industry standards for control systems, enclosures and rotating equipment. Knowledge and experience with designing and maintaining electronics at the board and component level. Additional desired skill sets include PCB design, ability to design build and program PLC systems and experience with astronomical Instrumentation.

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
$70,000 + depending on qualifications

Working Conditions

  • May work in all weather conditions and in extreme temperatures.
  • May work around chemical fumes.
  • May work around standard office conditions. Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation.
  • May work around electrical and mechanical hazards.
  • Use of manual dexterity.
  • Climbing of stairs. Climbing of ladders. Lifting and moving.
  • Work at height, 100 feet, using man lift, rope, or ladder. 
  • May require working extended hours in inclement weather with hazardous equipment or materials.
  • Since we are a 24/7 operation, may be expected to work at all hours of the day or night,
    weekends or holidays (when needed and within limits) to serve the needs of the Observatory
    and specifically the HET.
  • Acts as senior member of the Observatory's Emergency Response Team that responds to fire, medical, hazardous material or other emergencies that threaten or interfere with the normal operations of the facility. Handles emergencies calmly and quickly.
  • Staff on-site in the residential community may serve as essential employee as determined by your manager.

Work Shift

  • Generally, M-F, 8am – 5pm
  • Work evening, weekend, and holiday hours as needed

Required Materials

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

Additional information and to apply: https://utaustin.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/UTstaff/job/MCDONALD-OBSERVATORY/HET-Electrical-Engineer_R_00007262 

 

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HET Optomechanical Engineer (McDonald Observatory)

Job Description:

Responsible for maintaining all optics on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and manage all activities in the HET optic lab including maintaining the reflectivity of the primary mirror segments, operating and maintaining the mirror coating facility and serve as the supervisor for the HET optics team. This position works closely with colleagues at the HET and in Austin to design, build and maintain optomechanical tools and instrumentation as needed for the efficient operation of the HET.

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Job Details:

General Notes

This position is located at McDonald Observatory, 16 miles from Fort Davis, Texas (440 miles away from the UT Austin campus). The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) is a 24/7 operation and you may be expected to work at all hours of the day or night, weekends, or holidays (when needed and within limits) to serve the scientifically needs of the Observatory and specifically the HET. Residence in the Observatory's residential community may be available and may be required. Position may be subject to “call-back” as an essential employee for emergency or critical response. Must be eligible to work in the US on a full-time basis for any employer without sponsorship.

 

Responsibilities

  • Operates and maintains the 15kW, 10,000V, E-Beam mirror coating system to coat 1-meter hexagonal mirror segments with aluminum, Including all vacuum equipment, ion assisted vapor deposition system, and optical coating metrology instrumentation. Operates and maintains the class 10,000 clean room housing the mirror coating facility and the Strip and Wash (SAW) room where the 1-meter segments have old coating removed and are prepped for the new coating.
  • Maintains all optics and optomechanical subsystems on the HET with emphasis on the reflectivity of the HET primary mirror segments, the overall optical throughput of the telescope, the performance of the primary mirror Segment Control System (SCS), the primary mirror Segment Alignment Measurement System (SAMS) and the Center of Curvature Alignment System (CCAS).
  • Leads or participates in projects to improve the performance of the telescope from a mechanical and/or optomechanical perspective. Such projects may include both optical and mechanical design from first principles to an operational instrument, tool, or fixture.
  • Investigates and solves telescope failures or performance deficiencies related to optomechanical and electro-optical subsystems on the telescope.
    Supervise the HET Optics Team to define and schedule all team activities in cooperation with the team members and HET Operations Management. Participates or leads weekly, or as needed, meetings and/or work sessions.

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in mechanical or optical engineering with minimum of two years experience or Bachelor's degree in mechanical or optical engineering and four years of related experience, preferably in an optomechanical design role or in the optical coating industry with experience as a team lead or in a supervisory role.
  • Understanding of system level interactions between optics, electronics, software and mechanical parts to enable effective problem solving at the system level down to the individual part level.
  • Understanding of optical component cleaning and handling procedures.
  • Experience in one or more of the following fields of optomechanical engineering: 1. Optical coating processes, more specifically ion assisted electron beam vapor deposition, and the process control requirements that lead to optimal coating performance in terms of reflectivity and durability; 2. Vacuum system operation and maintenance for optical coating processes; 3. Mechanical and optomechanical design using Solid Works and/or Inventor; 4. Basic optical design and some exposure to optical design/simulation tools such as ZEMAX and/or optical system performance measurement; or 5. Optical component mounting, interfaces and adhesive bonding.
  • Basic machining skills using machine tools such material cutting, drilling, milling and turning.
  • Self-driven individual with keen technical ability, systematic approach, detailed-oriented, excellent problem-solving skills, positive attitude, strong work ethic, and strong team player.
  • Demonstrated problem solving ability through design of experiments and carry out tests to collect and analyze data. Has excellent technical writing and documentation skills.
  • Experience in statistical process control (SPC) is a plus.
  • Passion for hands-on problem solving.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills and the ability to interface with all levels of staff and leadership. Supervise and develop junior staff members.
  • Relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in mechanical or optical engineering with more than two years experience or Bachelor's degree in mechanical or optical engineering with more than four years of related experience, preferably in an optomechanical design role or in the optical coating industry, including one plus years experience as a team lead or in a supervisory role.
  • Proficient in optical coating processes, more specifically ion assisted electron beam vapor deposition, and the process control requirements that lead to optimal coating performance in terms of reflectivity and durability.
  • Proficient in vacuum system operation and maintenance for optical coating processes.
  • Proficient in mechanical and optomechanical design using Solid Works and/or Inventor.
  • Familiar with basic optical design and some proficiency in the use of optical design/simulation tools such as ZEMAX and the ability to communicate effectively with optical designers on optical design and performance measurement.
  • Hands on experience in optical component mounting, interfaces and adhesive bonding.
  • Practical programming experience (Python, MATLAB or equivalent) for advanced optics and optical coating modelling, design and data analysis.

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.

Working Conditions

  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including safety harnesses, hard hats, breathing respirators, and ear and eye protection.
  • Personal protection equipment (furnished) required during mirror stripping and working with chemicals.
  • May work in all weather conditions and extreme temperatures.
  • May work around chemical and chemical fumes while stripping and washing optics, wearing PPE.
  • May work around electrical and mechanical hazards.
  • Use of manual, mechanical hand-tool, and fine-motor dexterity.
  • Climbing and working at heights up to 100 feet, using man lift, rope, or ladder.
  • Climbing up to three flights of stairs at a time.
  • Lifting and moving up to 50 pounds.
  • Ability to move around in a mirror truss, a lattice shell structure.
  • May work around standard office conditions.
  • Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation.
  • May require working extended hours in inclement weather with hazardous equipment or materials.

Work Shift

  • Generally, M-F, 8 am – 5 pm
  • Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) is a 24/7/365 operation and this position may be expected to work at all hours of the day or night, weekends, or holidays (when needed and within limits) to serve the needs of the Observatory and specifically the HET.
  • Staff living on-site in the residential community are considered as essential employees, as determined by the HET Facility Manager and the Observatory Superintendent, and will be required to serve in the Observatory Emergency Response team.

Required Materials

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

Additional information and to apply: https://utaustin.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/UTstaff/job/MCDONALD-OBSERVATORY/HET-Optomechanical-Engineer_R_00010826