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Job Vacancy - Subaru Adaptive Optics Research Scientist

April 6, 2023
Last updated: July 1, 2023

Job Summary
Regular, Full-Time, RCUH Non-Civil Service position with the Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), located in Hilo, Hawai‘i. Continuation of employment is dependent upon program/operational needs, satisfactory work performance, availability of funds, and compliance with applicable Federal/State laws.


DUTIES: Maintains and improves the reliability and performance of the facility adaptive optics (AO) system and laser guide star facility (LGSF) of the Subaru Telescope. Oversees the troubleshooting, modifying, and upgrading of the AO system and LGSF in collaboration with the other scientists, engineers, and technicians in the Instrument Division, Science Operation Division, and throughout Subaru. Appropriately evaluates the scientific performance of the AO and LGSF systems, and works to ensure efficient night-time operations to maximize science output. Manages the interface between the telescope, the facility AO system, and the instruments. Participates in reviewing new instruments, especially those which use the facility AO system and LGSF, and ensures proper acceptance procedure and interface control. Participates in the developments of new Ground Layer AO (GLAO) system. Work together with the GLAO team to procure the GLAO hardware and develop their integration, test, and maintenance plan. Pursues programs of astronomical research including instrumentation science.

EDUCATION/TRAINING: PhD from an accredited college or university in Astronomy or closely related field.
EXPERIENCE: Three to five (3-5) years of experience in astronomical observations and data reduction, development and operation of optical or infrared spectrographs, and a program of research in astronomy. Experience in development of AO system is highly evaluated.
KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge of observational astronomy, adaptive optics, visible and infrared detectors, optical design and alignment, also theory and detailed operation of lasers, especially health and safety aspects.
ABILITIES & SKILLS: Ability to analyze, interpret, and use sound logic and judgement in the application of the regulations. Ability to undertake a program of astronomical research. Ability to plan and manage projects. Must possess a valid driver’s license (and if use of personal vehicle on the job is required, must also have valid personal driver’s insurance equivalent to Hawai‘i’s No-Fault Driver’s Insurance) and maintain throughout the duration of employment. Must be able to drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle with manual transmission. Ability to safely operate an overhead crane of up to 5,000 pound capacity. Post Offer/Employment Condition: Must be able to complete overhead crane training provided, and obtain and maintain the crane operation certification within twelve (12) months from date of hire and maintain throughout duration of employment.
PHYSICAL/MEDICAL DEMANDS: Must be able to climb stairs and carry loads of up to forty (40) pounds for short distances. Ability to work extensively in the daytime at the Mauna Kea summit (at an altitude of 14,000 feet) and, to a lesser extent, at night. Post Offer/Employment Condition: Must be able to work at 14,000 feet and pass a post offer high-altitude medical examination.
POLICY/REGULATORY REQUIREMENT: As a condition of employment, employee will be subject to all applicable RCUH policies, procedures, and trainings and, as applicable, subject to University of Hawai‘i's and/or business entity's policies, procedures, and trainings. Violation of RCUH's, UH's, or business entity's policies and/or procedures or applicable State or Federal laws and/or regulations may lead to disciplinary action (including, but not limited to possible termination of employment, personal fines, civil and/or criminal penalties, etc.).

Experience with Linux software development, image processing and data analysis, optical design and alignment, mechanical design, systems design, or cryogenics.
INQUIRIES: Masayo Nakajima 934-5058 (Hawai‘i).

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: Please go to and click on “Job Postings.” You must submit the following documents online to be considered for the position: 1) Cover Letter, 2) Resume, 3) Supervisory References, 4) Copy of Degree(s)/Transcript(s)/Certificate(s). All online applications must be submitted/received by the closing date (11:59 P.M. Hawai‘i Standard Time/RCUH receipt time) as stated on the job posting. If you do not have access to our system and the closing date is imminent, you may send additional documents to If you have questions on the application process and/or need assistance, please call (808)956-7262 or (808)956-8376. Please visit for more information on RCUH’s Benefits for eligible employees.

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