For this term project, I will be researching and discussing
the significance of the W.M. Keck Observatory. Located near Mauna Kea, a dormant
volcano in Hawaii, the W.M. Keck Observatory is well known for its design and
discoveries of exoplanets as well as galaxies within the universe (DeVorkin). Keck’s
10-meter twin telescopes were built using 36 hexagonal segments of
glass-ceramic material that perform similar as if one were to use a single
mirror (DeVorkin). Given the blurring effects of the atmosphere, Keck’s
telescopes became the first in the world to use an adaptive optics system which
allows it to alter the shape of the telescope mirror according to changes in the
atmosphere (“Keck Observatory”). As a result, the telescope is capable of
making images 10 times clearer compared to observing without the system (“Keck
Observatory”). With a number of notable discoveries, Keck’s twin telescopes have
mainly focused on observing the movement of planets around other stars. One of
the most significant discoveries made was the transit of HD 209458, which was
the first planet to appear eclipsing its star (Wittenmyer). Another prominent
discovery was a group of small dwarf galaxies orbiting a much larger galaxy
called Andromeda galaxy (“Keck Observatory”). This shed a new light on how
galaxies form and evolve over time as well as their structure and size (“Keck
Observatory”). To conclude, I will be recording an audio clip of me providing
greater detail on the significance of the W.M. Keck Observatory.