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Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) Director

This is a fulltime position based at La Serena, Chile.

The Carnegie Observatories (a department of the Carnegie Institution for Science) is a non-profit, world-class astronomical research institution, with its office located in Pasadena, California. Websites: , and

Job Description

The Carnegie Observatories seek an energetic leader for their Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) in Chile. The LCO operates the twin 6.5 m Magellan telescopes on behalf of the Magellan scientific consortium as well as a productive suite of telescopes up to 2.5 m in diameter for the Carnegie Observatories. Construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope has recently begun on the LCO site, with first light expected in 2022. The LCO Director will be responsible for ensuring continued effective operation of the existing telescopes while facilitating the construction of the first extremely large telescope.

The next LCO Director should be deeply engaged in the scientific mission of the observatory with a clear vision for the future of LCO. The ideal candidate will have outstanding organizational skills, foster scientific excellence at the LCO telescopes, maintain staff proficiency and morale, and promote astronomy in Chile. The LCO Director reports to the Director of the Carnegie Observatories, based in Pasadena, California, and is the representative of the Carnegie Observatories in Chile. The LCO Director oversees the LCO operations on the mountain and business operations in the city of La Serena. Specific responsibilities include proposing a budget, supervising the business office, planning infrastructure and telescope improvements, representing Carnegie in matters related to labor negotiations and Chilean labor laws, and overseeing Carnegie's relations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the University of Chile concerning Chilean access to the telescopes. Experience in scientific management or supervising the support of scientific research is required and a strong personal research record is highly desirable.


Ph.D in astronomy or a related field, or equivalent experience. The position is based in La Serena, Chile and requires fluency in written and spoken Spanish, the ability to work at 2400 m altitude, and readiness for frequent travel within Chile and to the US.

How to Apply

Only electronic applications submitted through the Carnegie website at will be considered. The requested application materials consist of a cover letter describing the candidate's vision for LCO, a CV, and the names of at least three references. Please direct your questions to Josh Simon ( Review of applications will begin on September 30, 2016, but applications may be accepted until the position is filled.

The Carnegie Institution for Science is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Apply now!

The job description can also be downloaded here.

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