keck telescopes

Sandra Faber (b. 1944) is an astronomer who has made significant contributions and discoveries to the field throughout her career. Her research led to the discovery of links between the brightness of galaxies and the speed of the starts within them, and to the Faber-Jackson relation which bears her name. She also had a vital part in the design of the Keck telescopes in Hawaii.

She earned her PhD in Optical Observational Astronomy from the University of Harvard in 1972. She then became the first woman to work for the Lick Observatory in Santa Cruz, as an Assistant Professor. She was the principal investigator of the Nuker Team, which searched for supermassive black holes using the Hubble Telescope.

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Milky Way over Keck and Subaru by Ben Cooper
Via Flickr:
The Milky Way over the Keck and Subaru telescopes atop 13,800 foot Mauna Kea.

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Supercomputer Visualizes Action At Milky Way’s Center

These gifs show the orbits of stars around a black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The orbits helped to uncover the existence of the black hole, which sits around 25,000 light years away from Earth and is estimated to have 4 million times the mass of our sun. 

The gifs were created from a 3-D visualization made by the University of Illinois National Center for Supercomputing using observations taken by telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory between 1995 and 2012. Read more about the work here and here.

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Astronomers just looked back in time 13 billion years

Astronomers just captured an image of the faintest galaxy we’ve ever glimpsed. A new instrument on the Keck telescopes in Hawaii, used a phenomenon called “gravitational lensing,” to give us a look of the galaxy. It’s only about 1% of 1% of the mass of our own Milky Way, according to Keck astronomer Marc Kassis. Thirteen billion years ago is a significant moment in the universe’s past.

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MWC 922: The Red Square Nebula : What could cause a nebula to appear square? No one is quite sure. The hot star system known as MWC 922, however, appears to be embedded in a nebula with just such a shape. The featured image combines infrared exposures from the Hale Telescope on Mt. Palomar in California, and the Keck-2 Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. A leading progenitor hypothesis for the square nebula is that the central star or stars somehow expelled cones of gas during a late developmental stage. For MWC 922, these cones happen to incorporate nearly right angles and be visible from the sides. Supporting evidence for the cone hypothesis includes radial spokes in the image that might run along the cone walls. Researchers speculate that the cones viewed from another angle would appear similar to the gigantic rings of supernova 1987A, possibly indicating that a star in MWC 922 might one day itself explode in a similar supernova. via NASA

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Kecy & Subaru by Ben Cooper
Via Flickr:
The stars come out over the Keck and Subaru telescopes atop Mauna Kea.

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Take a delightful minute and explore this time-lapsed video taken on Hawaii’s beautiful Mauna Kea.