Mauna Kea Observatories


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Mauna Kea Observatories

(mou`nə kā`ə), astronomical observatoryobservatory,
scientific facility especially equipped to detect and record naturally occurring scientific phenomena. Although geological and meteorological observatories exist, the term is generally applied to astronomical observatories.
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 complex located on Mauna Kea peak, the "white mountain" on the island of Hawaii, at an altitude of more than 13,600 ft (4,145 m). Because of its height and excellent seeingseeing,
in astronomy, the clarity with which stars and other celestial objects can be observed. It is primarily determined by the atmosphere of the earth. The most obvious phenomenon is twinkling, when the brightness of a star seems to fluctuate.
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, this site supports by far the largest astronomical facility in the world. It is operated by the Institute for Astronomy of the Univ. of Hawaii. The largest telescopes are the 33-ft (10-m) W. M. Keck telescopes (Keck I and II), each consisting of an array of 36 segmented mirrors; a computer adjusts each small mirror many times per second so that a single image is formed of the object under study. Keck I began observations in 1993, Keck II in 1996. The Subaru telescope, featuring a 327-in. (8.3-m) one-piece mirror, was formerly called the Japanese National Large Telescope. The 320-in. (8.1-m) Gemini telescope is one of an identical pair, the other being constructed atop Chile's Cerro Pachon. Together they will provide complete unobstructed optical and infrared coverage of both the northern and southern skies. Other instruments include the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope (142 in./3.6 m), the United Kingdom Infrared telescope (150 in./3.8 m), and the Infrared Telescope Facility (120 in./3 m), as well as two telescopes—the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope—used for observations in the submillimeter portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Also part of the complex is the Hawaii Antenna of the Very Long Baseline Array, which is used for observations in radio astronomyradio astronomy,
study of celestial bodies by means of the electromagnetic radio frequency waves they emit and absorb naturally. Radio Telescopes

Radio waves emanating from celestial bodies are received by specially constructed antennas, called radio telescopes,
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References in periodicals archive ?
Its partnerships with the Mauna Kea observatories, the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) serve to increase opportunities for informal science learning in ways relevant to the local culture--thereby bringing these two groups together as equal partners.
The new connection was supported by a $340,000 High Performance Connections grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the University of Hawaii Information Technology Services and a $600,000 NSF grant to the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) to connect Gemini and the other Mauna Kea Observatories.
For more information about the Mauna Kea Observatories and the MKOCN, see: