Dear Keck Staff

We have a lot of fun when the kids come to visit. We regularly offer tours of Keck to local school groups. When they come we lay in a schedule of activities… Solar telescopes, an IR camera demonstration, tours of our remote operations, the activities can vary depending on the grade level.

After the last tour we got a packet of thank you letters from one of the classes. These are just fun to read, it is great to see what the kids remember from their visit. A drawing of telescopes set up in the lawn caught my eye, I was responsible for running the solar telescope activity!

Dear Keck Staff
A thank you letter from a student after a tour of Keck Observatory

Employment Opprtunity at Keck – Student Assistant Systems Administrator

W. M. Keck Observatory position announcement

The Observatory seeks a Student Assistant to support the Computer System Administrator on a variety of computer software/hardware oriented assignments.

Keck 2
Looking into the optics of the Keck 2 telescope
Essential Functions:

  1. Hardware and software data entry.
  2. Windows computer software/hardware configuration/troubleshooting
  3. Tape organizing.
  4. Shipping and Receiving support.
  5. Network Table data entry.
  6. Assist as primary help desk for Systems Administration group.
  7. Work effectively with coworkers and others by sharing ideas in a constructive, positive manner; listening to and objectively considering ideas and suggestions from others; keeping commitments; keeping others informed of work progress and issues; addressing problems and issues constructively to find mutually acceptable and practical solutions; and respecting the diversity of the WMKO workforce in actions, words, and deeds.
  8. Maintain commitment to a high standard of safety, comply with all safety laws and WMKO safety policies/rules, and report actual and potential safety violations to appropriate supervisory or management personnel to further WMKO’s core value of safety.

Continue reading “Employment Opprtunity at Keck – Student Assistant Systems Administrator”

Student Engineering

It is always gratifying to see. Tangles of wire, zip ties, plastic and metal bent and warped into odd shapes, contraptions that occasionally come apart. They may not be pretty, buy they usually work. This is engineering!

Piloting an ROV
Students from Hawai'i Preparatory Academy pilot an ROV in the Big Island Regional MATE ROV Competition
The goal? To build and pilot and underwater ROV through a simulated mission. Not an easy task, actually downright difficult. That the engineers and pilots are elementary, middle and high school students makes the results that much more impressive.

This is the fourth year I have helped to judge the 2012 Big Island Regional MATE ROV Challenge. Back again, it is just too much fun to see what the students come up with. Last year I helped judge the technical presentations and posters. While that is OK, the action is in the pool. This year it was poolside judging, getting a first hand view of the event. I was not alone, Keck provided many of the judges for the 2012 event. An investment in the next generation of engineers and techs that will follow our path.

A student built ROV attempting a mission in the Hilo regional 2012 MATE ROV Competition
Most of the ROV’s followed the usual pattern we have seen each year. A box frame built of PVC pipe with bilge pump motors attached to provide maneuvering capability. Cameras provide the vehicles eyes. Indeed, the operators must control the craft with only the visuals on the display screen, no looking around into the pool.

The mission this year was to survey a shipwreck, a victim of war, an oil tanker lying on the bottom with the potential to create an environmental disaster. The students must survey the wreck, then attempt to remove a sample of the “oil” trapped within. No matter that the “oil tanker” is a frame of PVC pipes at the bottom of a swimming pool, this was a challenging mission.

There were a number of rookie teams this year. It showed, a rough day in the pool for several of the teams. Experience showed, those teams with a couple years of competitions behind them performed much better. It was Kealakehe that won the Ranger class title… again. Give the new guys another chance next year, and I think the competition will be much closer.