The Keck Observatory – Case Study

Keck observatory on Mauna Kea

You might be wondering what an article about the Keck Observatory in Hawaii has to do with a VNC?

Well, that is precisely what I asked myself as well when I was reading the websites for Real VNC.

They have created an interesting case study about the Keck Observatory, and I’m writing about that in this article. Go here if you want to read the full case study on their website.

W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea Volcano

Case Study About the Keck Observatory

The W.M. Keck Observatory is located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii and is the host to the twin optical and infrared telescopes used for astronomical research by eminent scholars.

Each of the telescopes weighs about 300 tons, and the results produced by them are highly precise, notably in the range of nanometers. Astronomers from all around the world reside in Mauna Kea from time to time to study the deepest secrets of the universe by utilizing one of the largest and most precise twin optical and infrared telescopes in the world.

The two telescopes, namely Keck I and Keck II are 10 meters long and use the concept of active optics wherein a single primary mirror is made up of 36 smaller hexagonal segments that ultimately function as a single unit.

This accounts for the enormously large size of the two telescopes. The California Association for Research manages it in Astronomy, headed by representatives from Caltech and the University of California.

The observatory is also a host to several high precision instruments ranging from the Multi-Object Spectrometer to Keck Cosmic Web Imager. These instruments play an essential role in collecting astronomical data and thus helping in performing cutting edge scientific research.

Keeping in par with the current mission of the Keck Observatory of encouraging the imagination of humankind to advance the frontiers of astronomy, several steps have been taken to further the interest of the younger generation in astronomy.

Some of the activities initiated by the observatory to directly involve the general population are organizing educational tours, stargazing programs, and internship drives.

The scientists and staff at the observatory are also highly dedicated and adamant about engaging the students in the field of astronomy through internships and mentorships. In this way, they are doing their part in shaping the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Mauna Kea skyline showing observatories

The Hawaiian island is well-suited for the location of astronomical observatory due to its bright and calm night sky, glare-free environment, and low humidity. One of the reasons which make the dormant volcano of Mauna Kea a suitable location for the observatory is its proximity to the equator.

Over the years, Keck Observatory has been instrumental in figuring out the outer space and has even witnessed some of the groundbreaking discoveries in the past 30 years.

Some of the essential and amazing discoveries made by the twin telescopes in the field of astronomy are finding the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, discarding Pluto as the ninth planet, detecting methane on Mars, approximating the rate at which the universe is expanding, and so on. These notable discoveries have paved the way for further research in these particular sub-fields.

From the information laid down above, it can be concluded that the Keck Observatory since the time of its inauguration has done its part in advancing science and delivering adequate knowledge among the masses.

With its voluntary initiative of creating awareness among the general public about the basics of astronomy through stargazing programs and field trips, it can be said that the observatory acts as a teaching institute in addition to its primary function as an astronomical observatory.

Last Words

As said earlier, feel free to visit Real VNC’s website to read the full case study, as I only made a quick round-up of it.

One last note, maybe you are interested in stargazing and everything that has to do with that? If that’s the case, have a look at my buddy Dennis Boucher’s website called Exoplanet Science. Here you’ll find a great selection of beginner telescopes that will help you expand your hobby greatly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *