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Name of Collaboratory :


Keck Observatory


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Operational   Start Date : 1993 End Date : Info Last Updated : Tue, Dec 5 2006 1:01am PST

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Shared Instrument  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :

  Expert Consultation  

Domain(s) :

  Observational astronomy  

Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


The Keck Observatory, atop the Mauna Kea summit in Hawaii, houses the twin Keck Telescopes, the world's largest optical and and infrared telescopes. Because of the extreme altitude of the observatory, Keck's instruments have been made remotely accessible from Waimea, Hawaii, 32 km away. Remote access facilities have also been constructed at University of California, Santa Cruz; University of California, San Diego; and California Institute of Technology. These remote facilities allow astronomers short observation runs (1 night or less), which account for approximately 50% of observatory usage.

Remote observation employs a high-speed data link that connects observatories on Mauna Kea with Internet-2 and runs on UNIX. To prevent data loss, remote sites also have automated backup access via ISDN. Remote scientists have contact with technicians and scientists at the summit, and at Waimea with H.323 Polycom video conferencing equipment. Future plans include online data archiving.

Observing time on the Keck Telescope is shared between astronomers from the University of California system, California Institute of Technology, NASA, and University of Hawaii.


Access to Instruments :

  The two Keck telescopes atop Hawaii's dormant Moana Kea volcano are made accessible remotely. Instruments include the two very large light-gathering instruments, and a variety of related light-analysis instruments (see website for details). Currently these instruments are accessible from a control room 32km from the summit. The longer-term goal is to make all instruments fully available from the mainland US, and any other Internet- accessible location.  

Access to Information Resources :


Access to People as Resources :

  videoconference accessibility to telescope operators at the observatory and instrument specialists in Waimea  

Funding Agency or Sponsor :

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
University of California System (UC System)
University of Hawaii

Notes on Funding Agencies/Sponsors:

Organizations with Funded Participants:
Organization name:
Approx # of participants:
Description of organization's role(s):
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
University of California System (UC System)
University of Hawaii

Notes on Participants/Organizations:


Communications Technology Used :

  Remote access is done with custom-developed Unix software.
Polycom videoconferencing is used for person-person communications.

Technical Capabilities :

  Management of technical resources
Access control/login facilities
Support for transition between synch and asynch
Shared calendars
Asynchronous object sharing
Data stream capture
Asynchronous conversation
Synchronous object sharing
Instrument monitoring, Shared instrument control, Application sharing
Synchronous conversation
Audio, Video
  Key Articles :  

Chompalov, I., Genuth, J., & Shrum, W. (2002). The organization of scientific collaborations Research Policy, 31(5), 749-767.

Shrum, W., Chompalov, I., & Genuth, J. (2001). Trust, conflict and performance in scientific collaborations Social Studies of Science, 31(5), 681-730.


Project-reported performance data :

  not available  
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