Adaptive Optics Scientist | W.M. Keck Observatory

Date Posted: 
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Position Location: 
Waimea, HI
Job Description: 

W.M. Keck Observatory (WMKO) operates two of the largest and most scientifically productive optical/infrared telescopes on Earth. The twin 10-meter telescopes are located amidst several other world class observatories on the summit of Mauna Kea, at 13,796 feet above sea level on the Big Island of Hawaii, one of the premier sites for astronomy. The observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA. To learn more about us, visit us at

WMKO offers a robust rewards package which includes: a competitive salary; a broad benefits bundle including a 403(b) plan; a highly regarded tuition assistance program for dependent children (K-12 grade); and an unmatched focus of excellence all while working on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii.

The Adaptive Optics Scientist leads and supports efforts in the development and optimization of the Keck Adaptive Optics (AO) Systems; from initial requirements and concepts to astrophysical results. Current development activities include a near- infrared pyramid wavefront sensor, a new real-time control system and point spread function reconstruction, as well as the integration of a coronagraphic fiber injection feed to a near-infrared spectrograph. Future plans include a laser tomography system.

Principal activities include:

  • Play a lead role in the design,development, characterization, optimization and commissioning of new AO capabilities and their handover to operations.
  • Play a lead role in the characterization, optimization and improvement of the operational AO systems.
  • Help guide the continued development of WMKO’s high angular resolution capabilities.

Required Qualifications include:

  • Ph.D. level degree in adaptive optics or high angular resolution astronomy, or equivalent experience.
  • Three (3) years' of relevant experience in the development and/or use of adaptive optics for astronomical research.
  • Two (2) years' of work experience in instrumentation development or operations.

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