Veronica Ferreios Lopez - currently studying a PhD in Astrophysics at Lancaster University - recently had the amazing opportunity to spend two nights working on one of the best observatories on Earth. Veronica, accompanied by Dr Julie Wardlow, worked on the Low Resolution Imaging Spectrograph (LRIS) part of the Keck 1 telescope on Hawaii. The LRIS is a faint-light instrument capable of taking spectra and images of the most distant known objects in the universe. The instrument is equipped with a red arm and a blue arm to explore stellar populations of distant galaxies, active galactic nuclei, galactic clusters, and quasars.
The Keck Observatory is at the top of Mauna Kea on the large island of Hawaii, along with 10 other facilities. At 4200 metres above sea level, the Observatory usually sits above the clouds to observe the night sky from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Keck I telescope features a 10m primary mirror and weighs about 270 tons to keep it stable in tracking distant galaxies across the sky.
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