Book Report: Astronomy Keck Telescope

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Astronomy- Keck Telescope

Overview of the telescope

A telescope according to the Webster's dictionary is referred to as "an optical instrument used in viewing distant objects and heavenly bodies."

The telescope has over the years gone through a series of modification up from the tiny manual device to a now fully automated and digital telescope. However, in all this transitional development these two properties: the light collecting power which allows one to detect fainter and distant objects and the angular resolution which allows one to view the smaller and fainter images better have mainly been important. The optical accuracy has thus been maintained throughout these developments.

The keck telescope

From W.M.Keck observatory, both keck I telescope and its twin, keck II were funded; the project being under the management of California institute of technology and the University of California. Science observation with the keck I telescope began in 1993 where as with keck II, it was in 1996; it is then that National Aeronautics and space administration partnered with the observatory. Keck II (twin keck) telescope is considered to be the biggest optical and infrared telescope in the world. Each of the telescopes is about eight stories high, weighs around 300 tons and its primary mirror has a diameter of 10 meters each with 36 hexagonal segments. These large size primary mirrors give the keck telescope a lead in Astronomy as it offers the best clarity and potential sensitivity. (W.M.Keck Observatory, 2012).

Their performance however just like other telescopes is limited by atmospheric turbulence which ends up distorting images. This has been recently overcome by astronomers incorporating a fundamental technique known as the adaptive optics which compared to what was formerly possible in terms of clarity of the images has to a great extent improved. The deployment of 'the laser guide star adaptive optics system'… [END OF PREVIEW]

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