Tag Archives: Telescopes

Mauna Kea telescopes

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Near and Far.’ See more offerings here.

The photo above shows a distant view of some of the telescopes atop Mauna Kea, silhouetted against an early morning sky. Below is a closer look at the Gemini Northern Telescope, which sits a little way north of the summit of Mauna Kea.

Keck 1 and 2 telescopes

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Twins.’ (See more responses here.)

These are the two telescopes of the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. Keck 1 began operation in November, 1990, while Keck 2 made its first observations in October 1996. Each telescope’s 10-meter primary mirror is made up of 36 segments, hexagonal in shape. Not that these segments are small themselves. Each one is 1.8 meters wide and weighs half a ton.

The telescopes can accommodate a wide variety of instruments, such as cameras and spectrometers, and are considered to be the most scientifically productive in the world.

For more information about the W. M. Keck Observatory, go to www.keckobservatory.org.

Smithsonian Submillimeter Array

Smithsonian Submillimeter array

Smithsonian Submillimeter array dishesSmithsonian Submillimeter array dishes with textAnother response to the last edition of the WordPress photo challenge with a theme of ‘All time favorites.’

I post this for two reasons. The first is that recently I had an exchange on this blog with the wife of the Director of the Submillimeter Array (SMA). The second is that Mauna Kea is a favorite place of mine to visit.

So here are a couple of photos of the SMA taken a few years back. The dishes are mounted on those little round pads in the photos, and they can be moved to different pads to produce different configurations. In my ignorance of most things scientific, I marvel at the idea of moving a dish a few meters makes a big difference in observations of things way the heck out there in space. That’s not an official measurement there.

The top photo shows seven of the eight dishes that make up the array.
The photos at left, of three dishes and what immediately popped into my head when I saw them, show why I never made it as a scientist.

For more information about the Submillimeter Array, go to https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/sma/.


Telescopes at sunset

Mauna Kea always has an out-of-this-world feel to me with its barren landscape dotted with high-tech telescopes. Then there’s the fact that those telescopes are searching beyond this world for information about the universe.

Here are two of those telescopes, with Maui in the distance.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, ‘Out of This World.’

Mauna Kea telescopes at sunset

A final post based on the theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, which is ‘Silence.’

Unless the wind is howling, the top of Mauna Kea is a quiet place. The immensity of the volcano below and the sky above seems to swallow all sound. There’s no wildlife up there, just a few visitors wandering about, and telescopes silently probing space.

At sunset, the quiet is enhanced, despite an influx of people for the event. Perhaps it’s the dimming light or the muffling layer of billowy clouds around the volcano, but there’s a profound silence and a tranquility not easily found elsewhere.