- From Hawaii’s Maunakea, astronomers around the world use W. M. Keck Observatory to observe the Universe with unprecedented power and precision.
- The twin Keck Observatory telescopes are the world’s largest and most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes.
- Each telescope weighs 300 tons and operates with nanometer precision.
- The telescopes’ primary mirrors are 10-meters in diameter and are each composed of 36 hexagonal segments that work in concert as a single piece of reflective glass.
- In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i Island is surrounded by thousands of miles of thermally stable seas. The 13,796-foot Maunakea summit has no nearby mountain ranges to roil the upper atmosphere.
- Few city lights pollute Hawaiian night skies, and for most of the year, the atmosphere above Maunakea is clear, calm and dry -— offering the best seeing on Earth.
- Although the twin Keck Observatory telescopes offer the greatest potential sensitivity and clarity available in astronomy, their performance, and the performance of all ground-based telescopes, is limited by the turbulence of the Earth’s atmosphere, which distorts astronomical images.