Jobs & Volunteering

Employment Opportunities


StarDate Cafe hourly shift-work

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

Maintenance Worker I - Physical Plant - McDonald Observatory

Purpose: To perform maintenance and repair in grounds-keeping and in related custodial tasks at the McDonald Observatory.

Essential Functions: Maintains the observatory grounds including around the facilities and on-site housing as needed. This includes trash and litter disposal, mowing grass, operating string trimmers, vacuuming leaf blowers, and other related ground maintenance tasks. Provides preventative maintenance and repair to equipment used in grounds-keeping. Maintains the appropriate transportation licenses and training, including securing a Class B CDL Bus Drivers License to drive a school bus for the transportation of on-site children to and from school and for other McDonald Observatory supported events in accordance with Texas rules and regulations. Drives a UT vehicle within the McDonald Observatory facility to respond to calls and provide services to the multiple facilities. Works weekend duty as needed or scheduled to back fill other positions during staff vacations and sick leave to assist in general building cleaning, such as cleaning restrooms, maintaining floors, and other routine custodial duties. Primarily during non-growing seasons, assist with fire prevention measures at the observatory including trimming and removal of trees using the appropriate equipment such as a pruners, shears, handsaw, chainsaw, axe, etc. Maintains a professional customer-service demeanor and appearance according to UT McDonald Physical Plant dress code. Wears applicable personal protective gear as appropriate. Assists with special events including delivering and moving furniture, equipment, and materials. Participates in the set up and break down of tables, chairs, and trash receptacles, and stocks supplies as necessary. Participates in the Emergency Response Team for the Observatory as necessary. Required to take fire fighting training, first aid, and CPR.

Additional information about this position can be found at:

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