March 18, 2001 |
When Ed Stevens drives the dusty track to this wind-swept summit atop Hawaii's Big Island, he tries hard not to see the gleaming white and silver telescope domes set starkly amid this dormant volcano's red rock. He tries not to see where precious cinder cones--homes to goddesses--were flattened and paved for the hulking Western machines. He tries not to see a blindingly white radio antenna dish within a stone's throw of an ancient rock shrine that resembles Stonehenge.
September 24, 1998 |
Pursuing a tip from a college sophomore in England, a California astronomer has discovered two new planets orbiting distant suns--raising the total number of known planets outside our solar system to 12. The discovery potentially brings dreams of inhabited worlds beyond the sun one step closer to reality. Although neither Jupiter-sized orb seems likely to support life, one of the new planets is the first found to orbit its star at a leisurely earthlike pace, with a 437-day year.
August 19, 1998 |
In the thin air of Mauna Kea's summit, 300 tons of glass and steel pirouette as silently as a ballerina. A mile below, marshmallow clouds turn sunset pink. The red glow of still-active volcanoes on the far side of Hawaii's Big Island gleams through the overcast. With a horrible crunch, the world's largest optical telescope drops its two jaw-like hatches one at a time, opening its twin throats to drink in starlight. The Keck telescope is ready to receive the universe.
December 17, 1996 |
Howard B. Keck, an oil magnate and philanthropist who was chairman and president of the Superior Oil Co. and the W.M. Keck Foundation, has died. He was 83. Keck, who had retired from active work on the foundation a year ago, died Saturday in Santa Monica. The scion of Superior founder W.M. Keck Sr., Howard Keck worked from an early age in California oil fields along with his brother William and their father.
October 3, 1993 |
Winds have been howling over the 13,794-foot summit of Mauna Kea for almost a week, frequently gusting above 100 m.p.h. A transmitter atop the dormant volcano blew down the night before, severing communications with workers at the construction site. A repair crew is refusing to make the long, twisting drive up the mountain under these conditions. More problems. Jerry Nelson props his bare feet on a computer table, picks up the phone and dials Terry Mast, a colleague on the W.M.
November 8, 1991 |
Scientists gathered Thursday atop a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii to celebrate the dawn of a new era in astronomy. The $94-million Keck Telescope, the first--and some say the boldest--in a new generation of superscopes, was dedicated during ceremonies on top of Mauna Kea. In a Hawaiian tradition, ground was "blessed" for a twin scope that will carry the study of the heavens to new heights.