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The Robert Ferguson Observatory seeks experienced Star Guides to help manage events!

Do you have a love of astronomy and a passion for educating others? The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is currently seeking individuals experienced in astronomy to lead private events both on-site at the observatory in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood, or at off-site locations around Sonoma County. This is an independent contract, as-needed position. 

As a Star Guide, you will focus on:

  • Leading star-gazing events both on-site for private events at RFO and off-site at client locations, mainly throughout Sonoma County.
  • Educating the public on astronomy, from constellations and stars, to planets and other astronomical topics, by pointing out items in the night sky using a high-powered laser pointer, binoculars, and/or telescope.
  • Making the star-gazing event educational, interesting, and fun for the group.

$150 compensation is paid per event. Most star parties will last 1 to 3 hours. If extended time is requested from the Star Guide, the compensation will increase on a case-by-case basis. We expect to have at least five star parties per month, although this may increase throughout the year.

Required qualifications for this position include:

  • Demonstrated mid-level proficiency in astronomy.
  • Must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Be Covid vaccinated.
  • Complete, or have completed, the RFO volunteer training program.
  • Have an understanding of how to use personal telescopes.
  • Excellent communication skills, and the ability to interact with different groups of people including different ages and backgrounds.

Ideal candidates for this position will:

  • Have possession of their own telescope with which they can travel to events.
  • Have possession of astronomy-grade laser pointer and binoculars
  • Have a degree or higher education in astronomy or related field, or some structured astronomy education.
  • Be available on short-notice (within 1-2 weeks).

To apply, please send a resume and letter indicating what would make you a good fit for this position to [email protected]

About Robert Ferguson Observatory:

Robert Ferguson Observatory is run by the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association, a 501(3)(c) non-profit, and has offered outreach-based astronomy and science programs to the public for almost 25 years. RFO is almost all-volunteer run and typically serves about 9,000 visitors annually. The observatory is located in Sugarloaf State Park and houses a 40-inch reflector telescope, the largest telescope in Northern California that is accessible to the public; a robotic 20-inch research-grade, “CCD” telescope; and an 8”, two-meter long refractor telescope. Check us out at www.rfo.org

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