'Keck Week 2013' Commemorates Observatory's 20th Anniversary


This spring, the W. M. Keck Observatory is throwing a weeklong party called Keck Week 2013, to celebrate the observatory's first twenty years of high-impact, game-changing astronomical discoveries from the venerable twin-domes on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The festivities will take place in several Kohala Coast resort venues as well as in the town of Kamuela and will mark a distinctive confluence of the brightest minds in astronomy alongside our country's most significant scientific philanthropists. Early registration lasts until December 20th, offering a 30 percent discount off all events. Qualified journalists can have free registration to the two-day science meeting if they are covering the event.

"We are very excited and honored to host Keck Week 2013," said Taft Armandroff, Director of the W. M. Keck Observatory. "We look forward to showcasing the unprecedented discoveries made by our powerful telescopes and our ambitious community of dedicated scientists. With this event, we want to celebrate Keck's first twenty years of achievements and unveil a vibrant course for our future."

Keck Week 2013 will open March 14th at The Fairmont Orchid, with the Keck Observatory 20th Anniversary Science Meeting -- a rare, two-day binge of astronomy discourse and finely honed presentations describing Keck's legacy discoveries. On March 16th, Keck Week will peak with a Star Struck Fundraising Gala, a grand evening at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and feature a live auction of spectacular items, a gourmet dinner, live music and dancing, and remarks by special guests. Other events planned for Keck Week 2013 include:

* "Astronomy Live! Tonight" -- Enjoy a hosted reception under the stars with Keck's most popular astronomers, star gazing, a live feed from the summit and much more;
* "Welcome to Our Universe -- Keck Observatory's Open House" -- Explore and discover the science and engineering of the Keck Observatory with exhibits and hands-on activities developed by the professional staff at Keck;
* Keck Tennis Match -- Watch Keck astronomers out-parallax their Friends of Keck competitors on the court;
* Contact! -- A free showing of the feature film on the big screen; and
* Hawai'i Astronomy -- Visit Hawai'i's other astronomical centers.

"For the past 20 years, the W.M. Keck Observatory has exceeded its mission to 'advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries, inspiring the imagination of all,'" added Debbie Goodwin, Director of Advancement for the W. M. Keck Observatory. "This will be an once-in-a-lifetime occasion to bring together and celebrate the extraordinary people who have made possible this exceptional scientific endeavor. We encourage anyone with a love of astronomy and a passion for discovery to join us."

Keck Observatory has been central to some of the greatest breakthroughs in astronomy and recognized in recent history for discoveries including:

* The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for the accelerating expansion rate of the universe;
* The 2012 Crafoord Prize for the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy using Keck's world leading adaptive optics technology;
* In 2008, the very first images taken of planets found orbiting a near-by star; and
* The deluge of discoveries of exoplanets (more than 1,000 and growing) being detected and characterized by astronomers with the Keck Telescopes.

Since science observations from the Keck I telescope began in 1993 followed by Keck II in 1996, the Observatory has dominated worldwide as the most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth in number and scientific impact.

The W. M. Keck Observatory is funded by both federal grants and private philanthropy.

Contacts:
Krista Sherkey
Streamline6 Communications, LLC
+1 808.744.9854, cell: +1 913.775.3637
ksherkey@streamline6.com

Steve Jefferson
W. M. Keck Observatory
+1 808.881.3827
sjefferson@keck.hawaii.edu

Learn more about the W.M. Keck Observatory:
http://keckobservatory.org

Detailed information about Keck Week 2013 and to register for events:
http://keckobservatory.org/keck_week_2013

Keck Week art logo by Mike Field:
http://keckobservatory.org/images/press_images/KECK_M_FIELD_FINAL_3.jpg

The W. M. Keck Observatory operates two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii. The twin telescopes feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectroscopy and a world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics system. The Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA. (http://keckobservatory.org/)

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