Carroll Presents Keck Observatory Laser Show - April 25

Saturday, April 20, 2019

HELENA – As the culminating evening event for Carroll College’s Student Undergraduate Research Festival, Dr. Marc Kassis, Astronomer and Instrument Program Manager from the W.M. Keck Observatory, will present the Keck Observatory Laser Show: “Technology That’s Improving our Vision of the Universe.”  This event is free and open to the public.

The W. M. Keck Observatory uses two adaptive optics systems equipped with laser guide star technology to take the “twinkle” out of star light. The adaptive optics technology sharpens images taken with the two twin 10 meter diameter Keck Observatory telescopes that are currently the largest optical and near-infrared telescopes on the planet. Forward-thinking Keck scientists are constantly innovating and adding new technology to the telescopes to keep it at the cutting edge of research astronomy, and this includes updates to their adaptive optics systems that reveal unprecedented detail of astronomical objects. During this presentation, attendees will get a sense of the development of adaptive optics on the Keck Observatory telescopes, the science it enables, and how this technology can improve our vision.

About W. M. Keck Observatory

From Hawaii’s Maunakea, astronomers around the world use W. M. Keck Observatory to observe the universe with unprecedented power and precision. The twin Keck Observatory telescopes are the world’s most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes. Each telescope weighs 300 tons and operates with nanometer precision. The telescopes’ primary mirrors are 10-meters in diameter and are each composed of 36 hexagonal segments that work in concert as a single piece of reflective glass.

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii Island is surrounded by thousands of miles of thermally stable seas. The 13,796-foot Maunakea summit has no nearby mountain ranges to roil the upper atmosphere. Few city lights pollute Hawaiian night skies, and for most of the year, the atmosphere above Maunakea is clear, calm and dry -— offering the best seeing on Earth.

This lecture is in conjunction with the 2019 inauguration of Dr. John Cech as the 18th President of Carroll College and is free and open to the public. Members of the Helena community are encouraged to attend.