Mauna Kea Observatory - NASA IRTF Photo Gallery
©2011 by Fred Espenak. All rights reserved.
The NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) is an astronomical observatory located near the 4205m (13,800ft) summit of Mauna Kea, an extinct volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. It features a 3-meter (9.8 ft) telescope optimized for observations in infrared. The IRTF is operated by the University of Hawaii under a cooperative agreement with NASA. A minimum of 50% of IRTF observing time is devoted to planetary science.
I've had the opportunity to use the IRTF on numerous occasions with my colleagues from Goddard Space Flight Center and our Infrared Heterodyne Spectrometer. Our spectroscopic research projects include measuring winds on Venus, mapping ozone on Mars, and studying hydrocarbons in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn and Titan. We observed the atmospheric aftermath of Comet Shoemaker-Levy's impact with Jupiter, and have provided ground based observations of the planets in support of NASA missions.
For additional information on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, see the official IRTF web site.
The following photo gallery presents a collection of images of the NASA IRTF.
Click on each thumbnail to see a larger image.