Jobs & Volunteering

Employment Opportunities


StarDate Cafe hourly shift-work

The Café is seeking part-time hourly staff to help with our busy summer season. To inquire, call 432-426-3644.

Mechanic / Technician - McDonald Observatory

Purpose: Purpose is to provide primarily journey-level skills to perform work in a variety of technical trades in the maintenance, repair, fabrication and operations of a remote research facility, performing skilled work in an electrical, mechanical, and HVAC environment.

Essential Functions: Provide skilled work with HVAC and electrical systems in commercial and residential structures. Perform maintenance, repair, and trouble shooting of residential, commercial, and telescope structures related to mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and hydraulic systems. Assists with carpentry and general residential maintenance including (but not limited to) concrete work, structure repairs, drywall, painting, appliance servicing, and plumbing repairs. Perform preventive maintenance task as required on telescope domes and physical plant equipment. Support projects involving plumbing, electrical, and residential repairs and upgrades. Operate various types of equipment including tractor, backhoe, and forklift. Assist with welding, machining and fabrication of aluminum metal parts and assemblies. Utilizing metal lathe, milling machine and drill press. Ability to interpret three dimension assemblies from two dimension drawings. Maintain logs and records on equipment. Informs supervisor of conditions. Help co-workers as necessary with various disciplines in a team oriented environment. Perform emergency service duties as assigned including ERT training and related activities.

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Public Affairs Specialist I - Frank N. Bash Visitors Center - McDonald Observatory

Purpose: Supports and advances the education and public outreach mission of the McDonald Observatory and the University of Texas. Conducts evening star parties, special viewing nights, guided tours and solar viewing programs for public and private groups for the Frank Bash Visitors Center.

Essential Functions: Conducts evening star parties, special viewing nights, guided tours and solar viewing programs for public and private groups. Relates with visitors in a positive manner. Implements live theater and classroom public programs. Assists in routine maintenance of telescope equipment and domes. Follows established guidelines for safety and proper use of computer-controlled telescopes. Maintains equipment in HET gallery. Assists visitors with online reservations. Assists with management of online reservations. Communicates with visitors to resolve reservation issues. Assists visitors at the information desk when necessary, and greets visitors upon arrival to the Observatory. Performs custodial duties when necessary. Participates in a cross-functional team and works cooperatively with other staff members towards completion of projects.

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Volunteer Opportunities

The Public Observatory benefits greatly from volunteer support provided by area amateur astronomers. These individuals frequently bring their own telescopes to Star Parties in order to share striking views of the night sky with visitors to the Observatory.

On-site Amateur Astronomer Volunteers at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center
Are you an experienced amateur astronomer looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with the public? Do you have an RV or travel trailer and the freedom to spend several weeks (or more) at a remote dark-sky site.

The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory is looking for experienced amateur astronomers to serve as site-volunteers to support the Observatory's extensive public programs. The Observatory's Visitors Center plays host to approximately 60,000 visitors each year, many of whom participate in the Center's array of outreach activities. Site-volunteers will assist with both daytime and nighttime activities including guided tours, star parties, special viewing nights, and summer scout night programs as well as other special programs at other times of the year. In exchange for a four week (flexible), ≤ 20 hrs/wk (depending on time of year, up to 12 evening/night hours & up to 8 daytime hours) commitment and upon successful completion of the application process, the site-volunteer will be granted access to one of the Observatory's RV sites (full hook-ups, etc., provided.) Other restrictions apply. Background check required. Greatest needs are typically through the month of March with our Spring Break crowds and late May through August during traditional summer vacation months.

For more information, please contact Frank Cianciolo, Visitors Center manager (frankc @ utexas . edu (remove the spaces), 432-426-4152).

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

The Frank N. Bash Visitor Center at McDonald Observatory offers volunteer opportunities to individuals interested in astronomy and/or education. The greatest need for volunteers has been during our public star parties at busy times of the year. We have several telescopes that we use for our public programs including a 16" Meade LX200, 22" Classical Cassegrain, 22" Dobsonian and several Celestron and Meade 8" Schmidt Cassegrains. Training is provided. If you would like more information please contact the Visitors Center through the Volunteer Coordinator or call us at 432-426-3640 and ask for Shannon Rudine.

See also: Outreach volunteer opportunities in Austin


Visitors enjoying a star party at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center at McDonald

Star Party