Remote Observer

CFHT Corporation

June 3, 2024


The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation (CFHT), which operates a world-class 3.6-meter telescope at the summit of Maunakea, has an immediate opening for a qualified person to carry out science observations and operate the telescope. The observations are performed in the Queued Service Observing (QSO) mode, remotely from Waimea or from the Observatory at the summit. The Remote Observer (RO) has to ensure the safety of all operations and participate in other operational activities of the Remote Observing Process (ROP).

This position is open until filled; we will begin reviewing applications on May 15, 2024. Our desired start date is September 1st, 2024. For more information, please contact Dr. Nadine Manset, Director of Science Operations ([email protected]).


  1. Operates the telescope and all its associated systems (building systems, dome shutter, windscreen, autoguiders, etc.) in QSO or Classical mode in a remote environment or from the summit. Verifies and monitors all systems to ensure safe operation and optimum thermal and light conditions. Evaluates weather conditions and dome environment. Exercises judgment to ensure the safe operation of the telescope and instruments, to assess the feasibility of scientific observations. Has the responsibility and authority to shutdown the facility in response to weather conditions and for safety reasons.
  2. Selects the observations to be performed based on an understanding of the impact of the weather conditions and image quality on the scientific objectives of the scheduled programs. Must be able to work independently and autonomously. Performs other functions that relate to QSO observing. Regularly reviews science programs, instruments manuals, and calibration procedures in order to understand their objectives and impact on the observations. Reports problems encountered during observations and evaluates the instrument performance.
  3. Assists the visiting observers in the use of the CFHT instrumentation scheduled in Classical mode with data acquisition software and other facilities to perform observations from the summit for instruments not operated in the QSO mode or observations carried outside of QSO mode, including dewar fill, instrument night-time setup, and calibrations. Assists technical staff and visiting astronomers using those instruments.
  4. Participates in general activities, outside of night time duties, related to the operation of an astronomical telescope such as implementing, testing, evaluating and improving the observing process subsystems, data reduction, data analysis, data distribution, and queue coordination. Keeps current in scientific knowledge and participates in science related activities such as seminars and talks.
  5. Works effectively with others by sharing ideas in a collaborative, positive manner; listening to and objectively considering ideas and suggestions from others; keeping commitments; keeping others informed of work progress and issues; addressing problems and issues constructively to find mutually acceptable and practical solutions; and respecting the diversity of the CFHT workforce.
  6. Maintains commitment to a high standard of safety, complies with all safety laws and CFHT safety policies/rules, and reports actual and potential safety violations to appropriate supervisory or management personnel. Ensures the safety of all personnel and equipment at the summit,
    whether working at the summit or remotely.
  7. Participates in the maintenance and updates of Web pages on procedures and information related to service observing in the QSO mode and telescope operation.
  8. Assists in the training of Remote Observers.
  9. Contributes to public relation efforts, outreach and other tasks of general interests (WWW home page, Annual Report, etc.)
  10. Performs other related duties as assigned.



  1. A B.S./B.A. degree in astrophysics, physics, science or equivalent knowledge. Excellent knowledge of observational techniques and instruments used in optical- infrared astronomy. Good knowledge of telescope operation and experience with UNIX , Linux or similar environments a must.
  2. Ability and willingness to work irregular and late hours and at night. Willingness to work at least 6 consecutive nights shifts averaging 13 hours in duration. Ability and willingness to report for work on short notice, at night, on weekends and on holidays. Must have a telephone.
  3. Good written and communication skills. Ability to produce clear and consistent documentation. High level of interpersonal skills to work effectively with others. Strong sense of team spirit and initiative.
  4. Ability, certified by a physician, to perform duties effectively and safely at the CFHT summit site, characterized by an altitude of 4200 meters, low temperature and low humidity.
  5. Ability to drive a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to the CFHT site, on a partly unpaved mountain road, during the day and at night.


  1. Experience with calibration and automated processing, data reduction and evaluation is a plus.
  2. Skill in maintaining and troubleshooting mechanical, electrical, optical, and electronic Equipment.
  3. Experience in software programming.

CFHT is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace that fosters collaborative scientific discovery and innovation. In support of this commitment, CFHT does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors.

CFHT is located on the island of Hawai’i (also known as ‘The Big Island’), and the observatory is located on Maunakea. Maunakea is culturally significant to the Native Hawaiian people, and CFHT conducts all operations with the utmost respect for our historic and unique location. All CFHT employees are expected to treat Maunakea with respect and to acknowledge the privileged position they hold while being present on Maunakea.

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