Latest W. M. Keck Observatory Stories

2008-02-06 00:00:00

By Seth Borenstein WASHINGTON -- A telescope arms race is taking shape around the world. Astronomers are drawing up plans for the biggest, most powerful instruments ever built, capable of peering far deeper into the universe, and further back in time, than ever before. The building boom, which is expected to play out over the next decade and cost billions of dollars, is being driven by technological advances that afford unprecedented clarity and magnification. In fact, the supersized...

2008-02-04 00:35:00

The development of new technological advances is setting the course for a worldwide telescopic arms race. Astronomers are currently planning to construct large land-based telescopes with the capability of seeing further back in time than ever before. The telescopes will produce clearer images than even those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope which was put into orbit in 1990 and was long respected for its ability to clear up distortion caused by the Earth's atmosphere. Now, new land-based...

2008-01-28 15:25:00

First results from a new NASA-funded scientific instrument at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii are helping scientists overturn long-standing assumptions about powerful explosions called novae and have produced the first unified model for a nearby nova called RS Ophiuchi. "We were getting ready for a routine engineering run when all of a sudden the nova went off. It was very bright and easy to observe, so we took this opportunity and turned it into gold," says team member Marc Kuchner of...

2007-12-05 17:24:18

NASA has selected three teams of scientists to begin studying disks of dust around nearby stars starting in February 2008, using the Keck Interferometer in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. This sophisticated new system combines the observing power of the two large Keck telescopes into a single mega-telescope. The announcement follows completion of the Keck Interferometer's technology phase, in which its detectors, starlight trackers, active optics and computer control systems were installed, tested and...

2007-07-10 19:20:00

PASADENA, Calif.- Using natural "gravitational lenses," an international team of astronomers claim to have found the first traces of a population of the most distant galaxies yet seen-the light we see from them today left more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was just 500 million years old. Team leader Richard Ellis, the Steele Family Professor of Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, will present images of these faint and distant objects in his talk on July 11 at...

2007-01-09 00:40:00

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory, astronomers at the Ecole Polytechnique F©d©rale de Lausanne in Switzerland and the California Institute of Technology, USA, have discovered what appears to be the first known triplet of quasars. This close trio of supermassive black holes lies about 10.5 billion light-years away towards the Virgo (The Virgin) constellation. "Quasars are extremely rare objects," says George Djorgovski, from Caltech and leader of the...

2006-12-12 09:06:06

ESO Council Gives Green Light to Detailed Study of the European Extremely Large Telescope European astronomy has received a tremendous boost with the decision from ESO's governing body to proceed with detailed studies for the European Extremely Large Telescope. This study, with a budget of 57 million euro, will make it possible to start, in three years time, the construction of an optical/infrared telescope with a diameter around 40m that will revolutionise ground-based astronomy. The chosen...

2006-07-31 14:00:00

WASHINGTON -- Jupiter's Great Red Spot -- a high-pressure storm on the big planet's surface -- has been around for centuries, but on Monday astronomers released images of a new, smaller Jovian storm they call Red Spot Jr. Using the Keck II telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the W.M. Keck Observatory captured a high-resolution picture of both spots on July 20. Red Spot Jr. is about as wide as Earth's diameter and formed from the merger...

2006-07-25 12:40:57

Kamuela, Hawaii -- As astronomers increasingly link two telescopes as interferometers to reveal greater detail of distant stars, a Keck Observatory astronomer is showing the power of linking three or even more telescopes together. Astronomer Sam Ragland used Arizona's Infrared-Optical Telescope Array (IOTA) of three linked telescopes to obtain unprecedented detail of old red giant stars that represent the eventual fate of the Sun. Surprisingly, he found that nearly a third of the red giants...

2006-03-21 17:20:00

JPL -- Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have conducted a cosmic safari to seek out a rare galactic species. Their specimens -- clusters of galaxies in the very distant universe -- are few and far between, and have hardly ever been detected beyond a distance of 7 billion light-years from Earth. To find the clusters, the team carefully sifted through Spitzer infrared pictures and ground-based catalogues; estimated rough distances based on the cluster galaxies' colors; and...

Latest W. M. Keck Observatory Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:43

Interferometry -- Interferometry is the applied science of combining two or more input points of a data type, such as optical, and combine these data to form a greater picture based on the combination of the two sources. This technique is the basis for proposed radio telescope arrays, which spread out upon a wide area of hundreds of miles, can together produce a picture with resolution similar or equivalent to a single telescope with the diameter of the combined spread of telescopes. The...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Keck Observatory -- From a remote outpost on the summit of Hawaii's dormant Mauna Kea volcano, astronomers at the W.M. Keck Observatory probe the deepest regions of the Universe with unprecedented power and precision. Their instruments are the twin Keck Telescopes, the world's largest optical and and infrared telescopes. Each stands eight stories tall and weighs 300 tons, yet operates with nanometer precision. At the heart of each Keck Telescope is a revolutionary primary mirror. Ten...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Mauna Kea Observatories -- Hawaii is Earth's connecting point to the rest of the Universe. The summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii hosts the world's largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from eleven countries. The combined light-gathering power of the telescopes on Mauna Kea is fifteen times greater than that of the Palomar telescope in California -- for many years the world's largest -- and sixty times greater than that of the Hubble Space...

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Word of the Day
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'