Twenty five years ago- the Keck Observatory opened the dome above its telescope to look into the night sky. Since then- its twin domes on top of Mauna Kea have hosted generations of scientists and students.
The telescope’s design was radical for its time --using small hexagon shaped segmented mirrors and controlling them so that they would act as a single, giant mirror. Today, many telescopes on both ground and space, are being designed using the architecture developed and perfected by the Keck. Once completed the observatory could immediately make discoveries considered impossible at other locations, and would completely change the understanding of the universe.
Keck was the first telescope to directly image planets orbiting another star, prove the existence of super-massive black holes, and observe the most distant galaxies formed after the big bang. Anne Kinney is the Chief Scientist at the Keck Observatory.
To mark the anniversary- the observatory is hosting Hawai‘i Island school groups throughout the day at its base facility in Waimea.