Monthly Archives: July 2018

New Position: July 25, 2018 – Opto-mechanical technician

McDonald Observatory at The University of Texas at Austin, has an opening for an opto-mechanical technician at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET); a state-of-the-art optical telescope facility located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, 16 miles from Ft. Davis, Texas (440 miles west of UT Austin campus). This position is responsible for maintaining the many optical systems throughout the facility with the principal focus on the large (10 meter), multi-segmented (91 mirrors), primary mirror. Maintaining the primary mirror involves removing and installing individual segments (swapping) as well as sustaining the critical peripheral systems required to support this array. The critical support systems include 1) the Segment Alignment and Maintenance System (SAMS), a sensor system that measures the figure of the primary mirror 2) the Segment Control System (SCS), a motor driven positioning system for each of the individual mirror segments and 3) the mirror frame, a mechanical system designed to hold each segment in place. Other work includes supporting the mirror coating process and thorough record keeping to document the work performed and the state of the various subsystems.

Required qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in science or engineering, or a related field; equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate. Preferred qualifications: Two years experience working with optical systems and/or a laboratory environment. Math skill set including linear algebra and calculus. Computer skill set including programming fundamentals, MATLAB, LabView. Ability and/or experience with directing and/or managing projects. Ability to do basic troubleshooting on both electrical and mechanical systems. In addition, candidates should have the work ethic and drive to maximize the scientific output of the telescope.

Visit http://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/hr/jobs/nlogon/search/0/ for a complete job description and to apply for job posting number 18-07-20-01-4216. For more information about the telescope and McDonald Observatory visit http://www.as.utexas.edu/mcdonald/het/het.html. Security sensitive position; conviction verification on applicant will be conducted. UT Austin is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to diversity.

The week of July 23, 2018

This week at the HET we have taken the top end of the telescope so that we can rework the layout of the IFU fibers and add 11 new fibers.       That will leave just 17 IFU fibers to be installed.   Just to be clear this is not spectrographs being installed but just the IFU fibers that feed future spectrographs.   At the moment we have 41 spectrographs units installed and stable.     This means we are not more than half way towards our total goal of ~78 units.

The week of July 2nd 2018

It has been a while since I posted and I think one of our biggest pieces of new is that we are now regularly observing with HPF.    Not only is this instrument being used to observe host stars for planets but there are astronomers who are using it to observe planetary nebulae looking for new elements being born in the deaths of stars just slightly heavier than our sun.   This new instrument is easy to use, reliable and a great addition to the HET.

The other big news is that we now have 40 double barreled spectrographs installed within VIRUS.   That means that we are now more than half way to have VIRUS fully populated.

 

 

New Telescope operator positions open at the HET

We have two new openings at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope for telescope operators. One of our operators has moved on to be a technical manager for the new earth observatory being built by NASA at McDonald Observatory and the other is going to also work for NASA as a telescope operator on the Sofia flying observatory. While sad to see friends moving on it is great to know that we are hiring and training the best people! Maybe you know someone who might be our next telescope operator!? The add is below:

The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at the University of Texas at Austin, a state-of-the-art optical telescope facility located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, has an opening for a Telescope Operator (TO). The TO is responsible for the operation of the telescope, dome and instruments for night-time observations while working with the Resident Astronomer to acquire data. The TO maintains the records and logbooks detailing the activities during the observing period. Local weather and facility conditions are monitored to insure adequate and safe observing conditions. Some day time responsibilities include: assisting the day staff in the resolution of technical problems and preparing the facility for night time operations.

Required qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in astronomy, computer science, engineering, or a related field; equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate. Preferred qualifications: Completion of advanced courses leading towards a master’s degree in a STEM field and/or one or more years experience with operation of a 1+m telescope, understanding of observational astronomical terminology, experience with developing and adapting to changes in complex procedures for repetitive tasks, experience with quickly trouble shooting, documenting and working through faults in complex hardware and software systems, and experience working in a Linux or Unix environment through both command-line interfaces and GUIs. In addition, candidates should have the work ethic and drive to maximize the scientific output of the telescope. The work schedule will be determined with the Supervisor and will include nights and weekends.

For more information about the telescope and the McDonald Observatory visit http://www.as.utexas.edu/mcdonald/het/het.html. To view a complete job description, salary, benefits and application instructions visit http://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/hr/jobs/nlogon/search/0/ and refer to job posting number: 18-07-06-01-4216. This position is security sensitive and therefore the offer is contingent upon successfully passing a criminal conviction background check. The University of Texas, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action.