Keck Observatory operates two ten-meter telescopes atop the summit of Mauna Kea Hawai'i. Keeping those telescopes on-sky every night is the summit crew of the Operations Department. This video is dedicated to the guys of the Keck daycrew who make it possible.
The video is a combination of two techniques. Many scenes were filmed as standard video then accelerated during editing to allow the motion to become clear. Examples of this are scenes of telescopes slewing and the interferometer delay lines moving.
Slower subjects, such as clouds or the stars moving across the sky, were photographed as time lapse. Here a large number of still images were taken. These are then processed and converted to video using Photoshop CS5 before loading into the video editing software, Adobe Premiere Elements. To construct the time lapse sequences sometimes required thousands of separate images, quickly filling memory cards and exhausting batteries. After dark it is long exposure time lapse that is used, with individual exposures often 15 seconds to one minute long.
Many of the nighttime scenes are lit by moonlight, this allowed good exposures while still capturing the telescopes with stars overhead. A moonlit exposure of 30 to 60seconds can often appear as if taken during the day, with the odd effect of having stars in a blue sky.
A number of cameras were used in capturing the imagery… A Canon G11, Canon 20Da, Canon 40D, Canon 60D and Canon 5D MkII were used for various scenes. This often involved cameras setup on tripods while programmed to take exposures for hours at a time.
I must give credit to many folks who helped get the shots… Giving suggestions, driving the telescope, avoiding extension cords, and generally putting up with cameras deployed to odd locations. Three scenes were photographed by fellow Keck engineer and photographer, Mark Devenot, specifically the optic handling scenes. Mark also made a number of useful suggestions that resulted in other scenes and improvements to the video.
0:00 Liz Chock performing her usual software magic from her office at headquarters, Canon 60D
0:12 The background is an ethernet switch in the Keck 2 computer room. The insets are a VXWorks boot script, the power light for the Keck 2 drive system, and the Keck 1 HBS oil pressure gauges coming up to operational pressure, Canon 60D
0:17 The Keck 2 telescope slewing 180° in azimuth, video at 10x real time, Canon 60D
0:23 The interferometer FTS corner cubes moving into beam, Canon 60D
0:26 A pencil beam shutter dropping into place, used to create a narrow laser beam for aligning interferometer optics, Canon 60D
0:28 Interferometer Fast Delay Lines moving along the tracks, video at 7x real time, Canon 60D
0:34 The Keck 2 telescope slewing at 7x real time, Canon 60D
0:39 The interferometer Long Delay Lines moving at 10x real time, Canopn 60D
0:44 Another shot of the interferometer fast delay lines at 6x real time, Canon 60D
0:50 The Keck 2 telescope slewing at 10x real time, Canon 60D
0:55 CNC milling of a spectrograph slitmask, 11x real time, Canon 60D
1:01 Cold vapor issuing from the liquid nitrogen dewar of FATCAT Secondary, 0.75x real time, Canon 60D
1:06 Clouds flowing behing the Keck telescopes, one frame every 5 seconds, Canon G11
1:12 David Lynn, Rodney Eisenhour and Grant Hill removing the ESI spectrograph from Keck 2, time lapse with one frame every two seconds, Canon G11
1:21 Ray Nyberg and Joe Gargiulo installing the LRIS Spectrograph into Keck 1, one frame every two seconds, Canon G11
1:28 George Wall and Steve Doyle stripping the old aluminum coating from a tertiary mirror in preparation for re-coating, photography by Mark Devenot, Canon 40D
1:34 The Segement Exchange Team removing a segement from Keck 1, photography by Mark Devenot, Canon 5DMkII
1:44 Transferring a segment from the crane to a handling cart on the dome floor, photography by Mark Devenot, Canon 5DMkII
1:50 George Wall cleaning the Keck 1 primary by spraying carbon dioxide snow, one frame every two seconds, Canon G11
1:56 Sunset as seen from the observatory roof, time lapse with one exposure every five seconds, Canon 60D
2:06 Keck 2 open and operating under a moonlit sky, time lapse 30 second exposures with a Canon 60D @ 17mm f/4.5 ISO1000
2:14 Keck 2 interior during observing, time lapse 30 second exposures with some moonlight, Canon 20Da @ 10mm f/5 ISO800
2:19 Orion rising across the field of view, time lapse from a fixed tripod, 2 second exposures with a Canon 60D @ 50mm f/2.4 ISO1000
2:26 Three lasers, Keck 1, Keck 2 and Subaru work the summit sky, 90 minutes of one minute exposures were used to contruct the sequence, Canon 60D @ 17mm f/4 ISO4000
2:37 Keck 2 interior during observing, time lapse 30 second exposures with bright moonlight, Canon 20Da @ 10mm f/5 ISO800
2:44 Looking down into the Keck 2 primary mirror during observing, time lapse and moonlit 30 second exposures, Canon 60D @ 17mm f/4 ISO1600
2:46 Stars wheeling over Mauna Kea as photographed from near Hale Pohaku, 60 second exposures with cumulative addition, Canon 60D @ 17mm f/4 ISO2000
2:52 Stars over Keck 2, 15 second exposures under bright moonlight, Canon 60D @ 17mm f/4 ISO1600
2:58 Stars wheeling over Mauna Kea as photographed from near Hale Pohaku, 60 second exposures, Canon 60D @ 17mm f/4 ISO2000
3:03 Moonset and sunrise over the Keck telescopes, the Moon is seen between the domes, the domes close then the operators depart the summit. The fade to white is caused by sunrise and the resulting overexposure during 15 second exposures, Canon 60D @ 17mm f/4 ISO1600
3:13 End credits