Jobs & Volunteering

HET Optomechanical Engineer - McDonald Observatory

Job Description: Responsible for maintaining all optics on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and managing activities in the HET optic lab including maintaining the reflectivity of the primary mirror segments, operating and maintaining the mirror coating facility and serving as the supervisor for the HET optics team. This position works closely with colleagues at the HET and in Austin to design, build and maintain optomechanical tools and instrumentation as needed for the efficient operation of the HET..

This position is located at McDonald Observatory, 16 miles from Fort Davis, Texas (440 miles away from the UT Austin campus). The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) is a 24/7 operation and you may be expected to work at all hours of the day or night, weekends, or holidays (when needed and within limits) to serve the scientifically needs of the Observatory and specifically the HET. Residence in the Observatory's residential community may be available and may be required. Position may be subject to “call-back” as an essential employee for emergency or critical response. Must be eligible to work in the US on a full-time basis for any employer without sponsorship.


  • Operates and maintains the 15kW, 10,000V, E-Beam mirror coating system to coat 1-meter hexagonal mirror segments with aluminum, Including all vacuum equipment, ion assisted vapor deposition system, and optical coating metrology instrumentation. Operates and maintains the class 10,000 clean room housing the mirror coating facility and the Strip and Wash (SAW) room where the 1-meter segments have old coating removed and are prepped for the new coating.

  • Maintains all optics and optomechanical subsystems on the HET with emphasis on the reflectivity of the HET primary mirror segments, the overall optical throughput of the telescope, the performance of the primary mirror Segment Control System (SCS), the primary mirror Segment Alignment Measurement System (SAMS) and the Center of Curvature Alignment System (CCAS).

  • Leads or participates in projects to improve the performance of the telescope from a mechanical and/or optomechanical perspective. Such projects may include both optical and mechanical design from first principles to an operational instrument, tool, or fixture.

  • Investigates and solves telescope failures or performance deficiencies related to optomechanical and electro-optical subsystems on the telescope.

  • Supervise the HET Optics Team to define and schedule all team activities in cooperation with the team members and HET Operations Management. Participates or leads weekly, or as needed, meetings and/or work sessions.

For more information on this position, please see the full job posting here.


See also: Outreach volunteer opportunities in Austin


HET in the morning