Friday, January 19, 2007

Playing with the world's largest telescope

Tonight I have the honor of using one of the two largest telescopes in the world at the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that these telescopes were damaged by two major earthquakes just a couple of months ago. Other than the telescope moving a little slower than specs and a few missing ceiling tiles here and there, everything seems to be back to normal.

We are searching for white dwarfs, the slowly fading ashes of stars that have used their nuclear fuel, in some star clusters. The star clusters are easily visible with binoculars or small telescopes, but we need a telescope nearly 33 feet across in order to get a good view of these very faint stars.

I need to keep tending my telescope, so I'm off. But, if you haven't yet taken part in my readership poll, please do. I'd like to get to know you all better, and these statistics help! Thanks for your time!

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