Director’s Message: COVID-19

UPDATE: October 19, 2020

Aloha Kākou,

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on us all, and the world of research astronomy is no exception. Despite the many challenges we continue to face – from a temporary shutdown in early Spring to capacity restrictions on our summit personnel – our staff has been doing a tremendous job keeping the Observatory operational during this period of uncertainty. It is through the resourcefulness and determination of all who work here that we were able to bring both telescopes back online and resume regular operations in late May. Since then we have been observing the heavens every night, conducting exciting astronomical research.

Of course there are still many unknowns, including the trajectory and eventual duration of the pandemic. For the present, the majority of our employees continue to work from home, and restrictions on our summit staffing capacity remain in place, while we explore options for returning to something more like routine operations.

As understanding regarding COVID-19 evolves, we will continue to update our policies and procedures and implement measures to adapt to any emerging challenges. I am confident we are moving forward thoughtfully and responsibly, doing all we can to meet our mission while protecting the health and safety of our Keck Observatory ʻOhana. 

The outpouring of support and encouragement from our community over the past six months – including that of our fellow observatories and astronomers all over the world – has been both humbling and inspiring for all of us at the Observatory. We look forward to the day when we can safely resume sharing our science, face-to-face. In the meantime, may we all stay safe, healthy, and connected to each other. 



Mahalo nui loa,
Hilton Lewis, Director
W. M. Keck Observatory