Software-Engineer (m/f/d) | Instrumentation / Software Development in Astronomy

EDV & Informatics Garching
Astronomy & Astrophysics Complex Systems

Job Code: Ref. Nr. 20/2023

Job Offer from September 15, 2023

The Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching is a world leader in the field of ground-based and space-based experimental astronomy with its research areas Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, High-Energy Astronomy, Optical Astronomy, and Astrochemistry. It develops, builds and tests scientific instruments intended for large telescopes (VLT, ELT) and space satellites (XMM-Newton, Herschel, EUCLID, eROSITA, Athena).

In particular, MPE is leading the development, construction, and commissioning of MICADO, the first light instrument for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It is being built under the leadership of MPE by an international consortium of partners together with ESO. The ELT, with a diameter of nearly 40m, will be the largest telescope in the world. Together with MICADO, it represents a revolutionary science project that will allow astronomers worldwide to address a large number of science topics that span the key elements of modern astrophysics.

In order to support the interdisciplinary team which is testing and assembling MICADO at MPE we are looking for a Software-Engineer (m/f/d) in the area Instrumentation / Software Development in Astronomy.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • responsible and close collaboration with the interdisciplinary MICADO project team, the European partner institutes and the European Southern Observatory (ESO)
  • development and modification of instrument control software
  • implementation, test and documentation of the control software
  • support of lab and prototype tests as well as the integration of the instrument
  • support of the scientists at MPE who participate in lab experiments and developments; interdisciplinary collaboration with scientific teams and MPE’s central technical divisions

Your key competence and experience

  • Bachelor or Master degree in computer science, physics, engineering or equivalent
  • good knowledge of software development (focus on C, C++/C++17 or higher, python)
  • a good basic understanding of science and technology
  • good knowledge of Linux operating systems
  • experience with instrument hardware components and their software interfaces
  • understanding of complex control systems
  • fluent in spoken and written English; working knowledge of German would be an advantage


  • Experience in using developer tools (SVN / GIT / eclipse…)
  • Experience with SPS programming (e.g. Beckhoff TwinCAT)
  • Experience with integration and testing of astronomical instruments

Our offer

  • a versatile and independent job in a dynamic and culturally stimulating international research environment
  • work in an interdisciplinary team and familiar atmosphere with experienced engineers and physicists
  • demand-oriented further training
  • fair payment according to your qualification and professional experience according to collective agreement for public service (TVOD)
  • company pension (VBL)
  • subway station U6 directly in front of the institute, discounted MVV job tickets
  • canteen in the immediate vicinity
  • reduced rates for certain insurances
  • free parking on the institute premises

The position is for two years with the possibility of extension.

The Max Planck Society aims at employing more (severely) handicapped persons. Applications of (severely) handicapped persons are desirable. The Max Planck Society strives for gender equality and diversity and would like to increase the number of women in areas where they are underrepresented. Women are therefore explicitly encouraged to apply.

Your application

Have we piqued your interest? Then we would be happy to receive your complete online application by 30.10.2023.

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