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Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Mauna Kea
telescopes linked
to Internet2

Astronomers worldwide are
now able to utilize the Big Island
telescopes through the connection

By Helen Altonn


Astronomers worldwide are now able to utilize telescopes on Mauna Kea with a high-speed Internet connection.

Eleven observatories on the Big Island mountain have been connected to Internet2 networks via the Mauna Kea Observatories Communication Network.

The connection has a capacity of 45 million bits a second and is nearly 1,000 times faster than a typical modem.

Describing the potential of the new high-performance connection as "enormous," Frederic H. Chaffee, Keck Observatory director, said it will be possible in some applications for astronomers with access to Internet2 Networks to "observe" with the Keck telescopes from certain mainland sites.

The link also can be used to collaborate via videoconferencing without leaving the observatory headquarters in Waimea, he said.

International astronomers now are able to connect in real time to the Gemini North control center in the UH-Hilo Research park, said Gemini operations manager Jim Kennedy.

He said the new link will be critical in coordinating communications and scientific activities between the 8-meter twin Gemini telescopes on Mauna Kea and in Chile.

International relationships and connections also will be enhanced with access to the observatories in their home countries, such as Japan's new Sabaru telescope.

W.M. Keck Observatory
UH Institute for Astronomy

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