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    This is the position of Physical Science Technician, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO), Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  The primary purpose of this position is to conduct astronomical observations with optical/infrared instrumentation at the FLWO 1.5m Tillinghast telescope, and the FLWO 1.2m reflector telescope located on Mt. Hopkins.

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    1. Executes the CfA queue observing program on assigned nights, utilizing multiple instruments at the FLWO 1.2m and 1.5m telescopes including the FAST CCD spectrograph, and TRES fiber optic CCD echelle spectrograph on the 1.5m, and the direct CCD imagers on the 1.2m. Develops a detailed plan of observations for each night for the various requested PI programs, and/or   for visiting astronomers who request support for their observing sessions.  Optimizes the efficiency of queue scheduling by developing observations plans that make the best use of limited observing time and take into account such factors as sky conditions, phase and location of the moon, image quality, and target priorities.
    2. Keeps accurate and detailed records in appropriate log books and other recording media of  both nightly observations and other information  that is useful both to Observatory operations staff and project scientists.  Transmits data to CfA.
    3. Ensures proper telescope and spectrograph alignment, focus , and performance. Makes minor adjustments to spectrographs or telescopes as required by particular observing programs. Documents instrument or telescope performance anomalies for instrument scientists, engineers, and technicians, and learns new instrument and observing techniques as required. Assists with maintenance and repair of telescopes and instruments. Provides occasional training or assistance to astronomers who are unfamiliar with telescope or instrument operations.
    4. Monitors and analyzes data for quality, and takes immediate corrective action when anomalies are observed. Conveys an accurate description of the data to the cognizant scientist and provides consultation on its interpretation. Acts as technical advisor to astronomers concerning types of observations and/or special techniques needed to accomplish goals. Archives observation data and maintains the master archive of FLWO telescopes’ data.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Travel may be occasionally required to attend meetings, etc.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential

    10 - Recruitment is at full performance level

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/531029000. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.