Skip to content

Sommers-Bausch Observatory Manager

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

University Staff



Posting Close Date:


Date Posted:


Job Summary

We encourage applications for our Sommers-Bausch Observatory Manager! This position maintains and improves observing, teaching and computing facilities utilizing technical expertise in one of two main teaching laboratories of the Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences. This position requires unique expertise to be able to maintain and repair modern research-quality telescopes (currently twin 20” CDK PlaneWave telescopes on Software Bisque mounts and a Boller & Chivens 24” Ritchey-Chrétien telescope), a roof-mounted Heliostat (Solar Telescope), various smaller portable telescopes (e.g. Celestron and Meade 5-12” telescopes), and associated accessories (binoculars, CCD cameras, spectrograph, etc.) This person will instruct users how to operate each, as well as maintain the physical building and supervise student observatory staff.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

The Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences (APS) at the University of Colorado (CU) has a reputation of excellence, both nationally and internationally. Consistently ranked among the top programs in the country, the Department enjoys a diversity of research interests in the areas of Astrophysics & Astronomy, Planetary Science, Fluid Dynamics, Plasma Physics, Solar Physics, and Space Physics. The APS department has 30 rostered faculty, 50 research and affiliated faculty, 64 graduate students, 340 undergraduate majors, and 80 undergraduates minoring in astronomy. 

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

Administrative and Physical Plant
  • Budgeting and accounting, tracking expenditures.
  • Building and access control, security (maintain access database).
  • Prioritize & maintain observing schedules.
  • Building proctor, daily inspection and safety check of facilities.
  • Inventory and purchase of instructing and observing supplies.
  • Maintain interior/exterior displays and signage. Maintain organized, clean, & safe facility.
  • Work with/coordinate CU Facilities Management/outside contractors on observatory construction projects.

Technical Support
  • Maintain/upgrade observing and instructing facilities.
  • Computer lab maintenance and administration.
  • Purchase, develop and test new equipment for observatory and computer lab.
  • Respond to faculty requests.
  • Write and maintain documentation: instrument & observing manuals, website.

 Direct Educational Support
  • Assist faculty, TAs and students in courses instructed, including night laboratories, observing sessions, and offsite activities.
  • Assist in training TAs, open house volunteers, as required.
  • Support and facilitate public outreach (including Friday Night Open Houses, observatory tours, and annual Astronomy Day).
  • Support summer educational use.

  • Supervise 1- 4 student part-time positions and other staff.
  • Assign and coordinate tasks for staff.
  • Train personnel on telescope and computer operations.
  • Support student employee skill development.

What You Should Know

This person will be on-call for telescope support and/or repair as needed.

What We Can Offer

Starting Salary is $66,204. Relocation funds may be available.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be Driven. Be Dynamic. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience may substitute.
  • 1+ years of laboratory experience in an observatory or similar environment. 

What You Will Need

  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, with a variety of professionals, administrators, and students.
  • Proven ability to work independently and assume responsibility for initiating and completing critical functions in the management of educational programs.
  • Proven leadership ability.
  • Proficient computer knowledge and skills with Adobe Acrobat and MS Office applications, particularly with Outlook, Word, Excel, and Power Point.
  • Ability to work optimally in a team and within other collaborative work situations.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • 3 years of specialized laboratory experience in an observatory or similar environment.
  • Knowledge of engineering techniques related to equipment modification and maintenance; machine shop related skills; knowledge of observational astronomy techniques and procedures.
  • Expertise in Windows/Unix/Linux computer systems used for scientific analysis.
  • Technical knowledge of a modern, astronomical observatory. This position requires outstanding expertise to be able to maintain and repair modern research-quality telescopes (currently two twin 20" CDK PlaneWave telescopes on Software Bisque mounts and a Boller & Chivens 24" Ritchey-Chrétien telescope) , a roof-mounted Heliostat (Solar Telescope), various smaller portable telescopes (e.g. Celestron and Meade 5-12" telescopes), and associated accessories (binoculars, CCD cameras, spectrograph, etc.).

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials: 
  1. A current resume. 
  2. A cover letter that specifically tells us how your background and experience align with the requirements, qualifications, and responsibilities of the position.
We may request references at a later time.

Please apply by Sunday, May 16th for consideration.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, please apply through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

Posting Contact Email: