Operator telescopes
  • Expertise
    Operations & Maintenance
  • Section
    Astronomy & Operations
  • Hours
  • Closing date

Do you want to work in an international scientific environment where you operate leading radio telescopes?  Do you find it a challenge to accomplish the observations with those telescopes to a good result? Are you decisive, customer-oriented and do you have a flexible attitude? Then you might be our new

Operator Telescopes (v/m)

 Job description:

As operator you are responsible for the observation process. You operate the telescopes and ensure that the observations you have set up and the observation schedule are carried out efficiently. You check the generated data and the archiving of this data. Documenting and reporting on the observations are also part of your tasks.

During the observation you monitor the correct functioning of the technical systems. In case of an acute problem that needs to be solved, you are responsible for the initial diagnosis. Where possible, you solve the problem yourself or decide to call in expertise. You are the right person to follow up these issues via a ticket system.

In addition to the observation tasks, you will work from your own expertise in multidisciplinary project teams, inside and outside the department, on the further development and automation of the observation process. As an operator, you have an important responsibility in the communication between various teams within ASTRON, including maintenance engineers, software developers, network administrators and the Science Data Center.  For example, you will ensure that the maintenance program of the telescopes is coordinated with the scientific observation program.

The VLBI observation periods require a 24-hour attendance on site for a limited number of days per year.

For this work, we are looking for an enthusiastic operator to join our team.

Job requirements:

  • You have a completed higher professional education (hbo) degree in computer science.
  • You have affinity with network installations.
  • Experience with LINUX and programming languages such as Python and Shell-Scripting are an advantage.
  • You have a good ability to express yourself orally and in writing in Dutch and English.
  • You can work independently and make decisions when the situation requires this.
  • You have good communication skills and can work well together in a team.
  • You are willing to be stand-by or on-call for work at non-regular working hours a view times a year.

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement Research Institutes.

We offer:

  • A full-time appointment of 38 hours per week, in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I), for the duration of two years which will become indefinite based on good performance. A dual or parttime appointment is also up for discussion.
  • A gross monthly salary on a full-time basis, in the range of € 2,674 to € 4,052 depending on relevant experience.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.33% of the gross annual salary.
  • A solid pension scheme (ABP).
  • 42 vacation days per year on a full time basis.
  • For the irregular shifts and stand-by and on-call duties you will receive an allowance.
  • Excellent fringe benefits, including a solid pension plan (ABP) and travel allowance.
  • Flexible conditions of employment, tailored to your personal situation. For example, you can decide for yourself whether you want to sell extra vacation days.

The Organisation:

ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Its main mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen, via the development of new and innovative technologies, the operation of world-class radio astronomy facilities, and the pursuit of fundamental astronomical research. Engineers and astronomers at ASTRON have an outstanding international reputation for novel technology development, and fundamental research in galactic and extra-galactic astronomy. ASTRON is part of the institute organization of NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). ASTRON is committed to increasing its staff diversity, and we are especially interested in applications from women and other traditionally under-represented groups.

ASTRON is located just outside Dwingeloo in Drenthe. ASTRON employs about 180 personnel, including scientists, engineers and operations and support staff.

Within the Astronomy & Operations division, the Telescope Operations department is responsible for the observation and maintenance of our telescopes, the LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) and the WSRT (Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope). Both telescopes are among the best radio telescopes in the world.  Together with an international astronomical community, the telescopes are used for outstanding scientific research.  The Telescope Operations department consists of a Group Manager, operators, maintenance engineers, system engineers, a software engineer and a science operations & support officer. There is close cooperation with the scientists within other departments of the Astronomy & Operations division.


More information about ASTRON can be found on our website www.astron.nl and www.jobsatastron.nl. For more information about this vacancy please contact Erika Timmerman, HR Officer: timmerman@astron.nl.

For more information on the content of this vacancy, please contact Marco Drost, Group Manager Telescope Operations: drost@astron.nl.


You can apply via the link below. The first closing date for this vacancy is Friday January 15, 2021. The first round of interviews will be held on Tuesday February 2, 2021.

Internal and external recruitment will take place in parallel. Candidates will be considered until the position has been filled. Internal candidates are preferred in case of equal suitability.

Acquisition as a result of this vacancy is not appreciated.

Word of a staff member
Emanuela Orrù
Telescope scientist

During my studies, I realised that I wanted to work in radio astronomy. In my second year, I decided to focus on radio astronomy. My professor pointed out to me that ASTRON build a new radio telescope in the middle of Europe. Because of this ASTRON caught my eye. After my studies and several years […]

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