W. M. Keck Observatory

The W. M. Keck Observatory is a two-telescope astronomical observatory at an elevation of 4,145 metres (13,600 ft) near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai'i. The primary mirrors of each of the two telescopes are 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter, making them the second largest optical telescopes in the world, slightly behind the Gran Telescopio Canarias. The telescopes can operate together to form a single astronomical interferometer. In 1985, Howard B. Keck of the W. M. Keck Foundation gave $70 million to fund the design and construction of the Keck I Telescope. The key advance that allowed the construction of the Keck's large telescopes was the ability to operate smaller mirror segments as a single, contiguous mirror. In the case of the Keck each of the primary mirrors is composed of 36 hexagonal segments that work together as a single unit. The mirrors were made from Zerodur glass-ceramic by the German company Schott AG. On the telescope, each segment is kept stable by a system of active optics, which uses extremely rigid support structures in combination with adjustable warping harnesses.

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Scientists build first map of hidden universe

A team led by astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has created the first three-dimensional map of the 'adolescent' Universe, just 3 billion years after the Big Bang. This map, built from ...

Oct 16, 2014
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Cosmic matters: Stormy weather on Uranus

(Phys.org) —Weather on any planet can be quite unpredictable. As hurricanes threaten the Aloha State, astronomers working at W. M. Keck Observatory on the island of Hawaii were surprised by the appearance ...

Aug 07, 2014
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Merging galaxies illuminate the cosmic food chain

(Phys.org) —Scientists studying a 'twin' of the Milky Way have used the W. M. Keck Observatory and Subaru Observatory to accurately model how it is swallowing another, smaller galaxy. Their findings have ...

Jul 01, 2014
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Kepler team validates 41 new exoplanets with Keck I

(Phys.org) —The Kepler team today reports on four years of observations from the W. M. Keck Observatory targeting Kepler's exoplanet systems, announcing results this week at the American Astronomical Society ...

Jan 10, 2014
4.9 / 5 (26) 8 | with audio podcast

International team strengthens Big Bang Theory

(Phys.org) —An international team of scientists using the most powerful telescope on Earth has discovered the moments just after the Big Bang happened more like the theory predicts, eliminating a significant ...

Jun 06, 2013
4.6 / 5 (65) 42 | with audio podcast

Astronomers open window into Europa's ocean

(Phys.org) —With data collected from the mighty W. M. Keck Observatory, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) astronomer Mike Brown—known as the Pluto killer for discovering a Kuiper-belt object ...

Mar 05, 2013
5 / 5 (11) 8 | with audio podcast