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.

Maintenance Worker I - McDonald Observatory

Job Description: To perform fire prevention tasks, grounds-keeping, equipment maintenance, and repair at the McDonald Observatory site near Ft. Davis.


  • 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. Performs various types of semi-skilled labor in support of fire prevention and suppression of wild-land fires and structure fires, cuts and removes brush from roadsides, fire roads, and fuel breaks using hand and power tools.

  • 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.

  • Ensures that all tools, equipment and vehicles are maintained in a clean and orderly fashion. Wears applicable personal protective gear as appropriate.

  • 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.

  • 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 firefighting training, first aid, and CPR.

  • Drives a UT vehicle within the McDonald Observatory facility to respond to calls and provide services to the multiple facilities.  Performs other related functions as assigned.

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

McDonald Observatory Physical Plant is recruiting summer hourly employees

Grounds and light maintenance duties.
Schedule: Monday – Friday
For more information contact Lisa Gandy @ 432-426-4148.
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers provide beneficial support to the Observatory and frequently bring their own telescopes to Star Parties to share striking views of the night sky with our visitors.

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.

McDonald Observatory is looking for experienced astronomy fans to serve as site-volunteers to support public programs. The Visitors Center see approximately 75,000 visitors each year. Volunteers assist with day and night programs including guided tours, star parties, special viewing nights, and scout nights. Access to one the Observatory's RV sites may be granted to approved volunteers able to commit to at least 20 hours/week of service. Background check required. Greatest needs are typically through the month of March and late May through August.

For more information, please contact Frank Cianciolo, Visitors Center manager (, 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 Volunteer Coordinator, Shannon Rudine, at 432-426-3640.

See also: Outreach volunteer opportunities in Austin


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

Star Party