|View of the telescopes taken from a helicopter |
from the north-east, CFHT closest, IRTF & Keck on the right
Over the last few years we (i.e., outer planet observers) have used several of these observatories, in addition to the IRTF which has been our major workhorse:
|Gemini-North and CFHT in the background, |
at sunset on Feb 4th 2013
|Subaru (left) and the twin Keck telescopes at sunrise|
on February 4th 2013.
I've never used the twin Keck telescopes directly, but I did get a guided tour back in 2005. These two domes have the largest mirrors on the summit at 10-m diameter. Each mirror consists of 36 hexagonal segments which can all move to correct for the atmospheric distortion. There are delay lines in the building between the two domes that allow the two telescopes to be combined to form an interferometer. I've helped analyse data from the LWS (Long Wave Spectrometer), which was taken off the telescope before I started observing, but my US colleagues have used LWS to detect polar hotspots on Saturn (Orton and Yanamandra-Fisher, 2005, http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1105730) and to get images and spectra of Neptune (de Pater et al., in prep.).
|UKIRT at sunset on February 4th 2013|
Oxford colleagues have used the 3.8-m UKIRT on several occasions for all four gas giant planets, but that era is sadly coming to an end after the UK shuts down this facility at the end of this year. UKIRT has been operational since 1979, but since 2010 the telescope has been operating remotely, conducting a deep sky survey (UKIDSS) with the WFCAM instrument (a wide field imager). Just before it switched to this mode, we used WFCAM to observe the interaction of Jupiter's Oval BA and Great Red Spot in September 2010. Oxford colleagues Irwin et al. (2010, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2010.03.017) had previously used the UIST instrument (0.8-5 µm spectrometer) to study the clouds of Uranus between September 2006 and July 2008, either side of the 2007 equinox.