World’s biggest 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 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.

In order to get star trail effect, the photo exposure was 3262 seconds. Since the Earth rotates, the stars are not at fixed places in the sky but appear to move, more or less towards the west. The stars appear to rotate around the north pole in the sky. Stars very near the pole are almost stationary in the sky, while stars closer to the equatorial plane move quite fast. All move about 15 degrees per hour in right ascension horizontally, but do not move in declination vertically.

Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from base to summit, since its base is located on the sea floor about 19,000 feet (5,800 m) beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean, bringing its total height to about 33,000 ft (10,000 m). The summit of Mauna Kea is considered to be one of the best astronomical sites in the world. For this reason it is home to many of the world’s leading astronomical observatories including the biggest one you can see here W. M. Keck Observatory.

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