Position Description

Telescope Operations Analyst
Job Category Fulltime Regular
ExemptOvertimeEligible Exempt
Benefits Eligible Benefit Based
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Job Summary

Caltech Optical Observatories (COO) is seeking a Telescope Operations Analyst to monitor and facilitate the operation and data quality monitoring of robotic telescopes (specifically the Samuel Oschin Telescope and 60-inch telescope) at Palomar Observatory. The successful applicant will be based at the Caltech campus in Pasadena and monitor robotic telescope operations and resulting data remotely and in coordination with users in the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) Collaboration.

Job Duties

  • Responsibility for daily monitoring of ZTF Camera/Samuel Oschin Telescope and Spectral Energy Distribution Machine (SEDM)/60-inch telescope operations and performance, including the monitoring the start of nightly observations and the review of nightly summary reports and observation quality checks with special attention to efficiency and ease of data access. 
  • Maintain the automated telescope monitoring systems as well as the Application Program Interface (API) and website used to access same.  
  • Ensure the SEDM observation queue is managed fairly for all three SEDM partners: Caltech Astronomy, ZTF Partnership, and NSF allocations. The successful applicant will be responsible for ingestion of SEDM observation requests, proper allocation to approved programs, and distribution of data to appropriate parties. This aspect of the position will require interaction with the “Fritz” Data Marshal Development Team.
  • Serve as the primary contact/coordinator with Palomar Observatory when issues arise and may need to respond promptly to notifications from monitoring systems during the night. 
  • Support COO staff in tracking telescope and instrument operational issues and managing data taken during engineering time. The hire will participate in various ZTF weekly meetings.
  • Other additional duties as assigned.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, or related discipline, and 3 or more years of related experience.
  • Demonstrated development skills in modern programming notations such as Python and Unix-like operating systems.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills to successfully interact in a scientific collaboration environment.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, or related discipline plus five or more years of experience in a technical and/or academic setting.
  • Demonstrated development skills in modern programming notations such as Python, website markup in HTML and JavaScript, relational database programming using Structured Query Language (SQL), and in Unix-like operating systems.
  • Two or more years of astronomical observatory operations experience.

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter


COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). Upon eligibility, employees are required to receive the COVID-19 booster as part of the vaccine mandate. As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at employment@caltech.edu

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