Remembering the Father of Keck Observatory Telescopes

June 11, 2019, 9:05 AM HST
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Jerry Nelson. PC: WM Keck Observatory

Over two years ago, WM Keck Observatory lost a member of its ‘ohana.

Jerry Nelson, the legendary designer of the Keck I & II telescopes, also known as the “Father of the Keck Observatory Telescopes,” passed away on June 10, 2017.

In remembrance of Nelson’s legacy, observatory personnel spent the next year after his passing capturing his story by way of a documentary produced by ‘Ōiwi TV.

The short film journeys back through time, honoring the past, celebrating the present and inspiring the future.

In the 17-minute video, viewers will learn more about Nelso and how Keck Observatory came to be—the vision, mission, and evolution of the most scientifically impactful optical/infrared twin telescopes on Earth, as told through the lenses of the people who are part of the observatory’s history and experienced the trials, tribulations and successes of building what was once called “The Impossible Telescope.”


Click HERE to view the video.


About WM Keck Observatory

The WM Keck Observatory telescopes are the most scientifically productive on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes atop Maunakea on the Island of Hawai‘i feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometers and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. WM Keck Observatory is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the WM Keck Foundation. Observatory personnel wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the Native Hawaiian community.

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