John Davies Picture Gallery: Telescopes - 3, Mauna Kea. 

Here are some pictures of telescopes on Mauna Kea. Please do not reproduce them commecially without my permission. If you want more telescope pictures , click at the bottom.

This is UKIRT, the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. Its owned and operated by STFC, the UK's science agency. The funny "windows" in the dome can be opened to help ventilate the dome so the telescope cools down as quickly as possible after sunset. As its name suggests, UKIRT works in the infrared, observing wavelengths longer than normal light. Infrared is heat radiation, what you can feel coming off a hot stove.

UKIRT is not usually open to the public but, since I'm not too busy, we'll go in for a minute.

Here is the telescope in a double picture taken by my colleage Neil McBrde. The main mirror at the bottom is 3.8 metres in diameter. The blue and white boxes on the side of the mirror cell are mostly electronics. The science instruments are attached lower down. See that red thing at the bottom, lets look closer....

This is CGS4. Its a cooled grating spectrograph which works between one and five microns. With it I study different molecules in comets and minerals in asteroids. Other astronomers study gas glouds in space and examine other galaxies for evidence of black holes. Photo: Neil McBride.

This is Michelle. Its a combined camera and spectrograph which works at wavelengths of 10 and 20 microns. UKIRT shares this with the bigger Gemini telescope a few hundred metres away.

This is our control room. We operate the scientific instruments from here. Thats me in the middle thinking, while Neil McBride loks at the screen. Our telescope operator sits at another console behind us to the right.

Time to outside and see the sunset.

John Keith Davies
Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ
tel: (44) 0131 668 8348 / fax: (44) 0131 662 1668/