Subject: News for and about the Internet2 community
I2-NEWS: World's Largest Astronomical Observatories Now Accessible over Internet2 Networks
- From: "Greg Wood" <>
- To: <>
- Subject: I2-NEWS: World's Largest Astronomical Observatories Now Accessible over Internet2 Networks
- Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 08:28:21 -0400
- Importance: Normal
David Lassner Peter Michaud Greg Wood
University of Hawaii Gemini/AURA Internet2
(808) 956-3501 (808) 974-2510 (202) 331-5360
World's Largest Astronomical Observatories Now Accessible over Internet2
University of Hawaii and AURA connect 11 observatory facilities on Hawaii's
Mauna Kea summit.
Hilo, Hawaii, April 18, 2000--A new high-performance Internet connection
announced today will transform the ability of astronomers to access
world-leading telescopes located on the peak of Mauna Kea on the island of
The University of Hawaii and the Association of Universities for Research in
Astronomy (AURA), with support from the National Science Foundation, have
connected eleven of the world's leading astronomical observatories to
Internet2 networks via the Mauna Kea Observatories Communication Network
(MKOCN). With a capacity of 45 million bits per second, the new link will
dramatically expand the capacity of astronomers around the world to remotely
use telescopes located on the Hawaii mountaintop. The connection, which is
nearly one thousand times faster than a typical modem, expands access to
telescopes situated on Mauna Kea in a variety of ways.
Dr. Frederic H. Chaffee, Director of the Keck Observatory, observed that
"this new high-speed link will bring us all closer to our user communities
on the mainland. In certain applications it will be possible for astronomers
with access to Internet2 networks to ‘observe’ with the Keck telescopes from
authorized mainland sites. In addition, we can use the link to participate
in technical collaborations via videoconferencing without ever leaving our
headquarters in Waimea. The potential of the new high-speed connection is
Astronomers around the world are also now able to connect in real time to
the Gemini North control center in the University of Hawaii at Hilo Research
Park. According to Gemini Operations Manager, Dr. Jim Kennedy “the new link
will be crucial in coordinating advanced communications and scientific
activities when our high-performance connection is completed to the Gemini
South facility in Chile.” The Gemini telescopes in Hawaii and Chile are part
of a multi-national effort to build twin 8.1 meter astronomical telescopes.
Additionally, home country access to international observatories on Mauna
Kea, such as the new Japanese Subaru telescope, will dramatically improve
through Internet2’s extensive set of international relationships and
A new set of collaborations was crucial to establishing this connection.
The University of Hawaii and Gemini agreed on a joint technical plan, which
received financial support from the National Science Foundation and network
connectivity from the Defense Research and Engineering Network.
“This network connection is a result of a partnership that shows what is
possible when you combine resources to solve common problems,” said Dr.
David Lassner, director of the University of Hawaii’s Information Technology
Services. “This would have been prohibitively expensive if we tried to work
independently or without the help of several federal agencies.”
The new connection was supported by a $340,000 High Performance Connections
grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the University of Hawaii
Information Technology Services and a $600,000 NSF grant to the Association
of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) to connect Gemini and the
other Mauna Kea Observatories. By cooperating to leverage both grants, the
University of Hawaii and AURA are providing connections from the Mauna Kea
summit to the University of Hawaii at Hilo Research Park and then on to the
Hawaii GigaPoP. The Hawaii GigaPoP is a new regional high-performance
network aggregation point at the University of Hawaii at Manoa located in
Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The University of Hawaii’s Institute for
Astronomy will provide Hilo-based operational support for the MKOCN
connections and services.
A key to Hawaii’s high performance connection to Abilene, an Internet2
backbone network, is the US Department of Defense's Research and Engineering
Network (DREN). The Hawaii GigaPoP is able to use DREN's 45 million bit per
second link between Hawaii and California -- an in-kind service valued at
over $1.5 million per year--through a special agreement among the University
of Hawaii, DREN and NSF.
There are educational benefits to the new link as well. The high-performance
connection will allow the observatories to share more of their findings with
the public through techniques such virtual observatory tours and live video
from Mauna Kea to museums, planetaria and classrooms world-wide. The
University of Hawaii at Hilo will be developing a new Mauna Kea Astronomy
Education Center in its Research Park, which will utilize the
high-performance connections to the observatories along with a planetarium,
videoconferencing and instructional facilities.
Internet2 is developing and deploying advanced network applications and
technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of
tomorrow’s Internet. Internet2 recreates the partnership of academia,
industry and government that helped foster today's Internet in its infancy.
For more information about Internet2, see:
About Gemini and AURA
The Gemini 8-meter Observatory Project is an international partnership that
receives major funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and
includes: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.
The NSF acts as executive agency for the international Gemini partnership.
For more information, see: http://www.gemini.edu
For more information about the Mauna Kea Observatories and the MKOCN, see:
For more information about Internet2 at the University of Hawaii, see:
For more information about Abilene, see:
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- I2-NEWS: World's Largest Astronomical Observatories Now Accessible over Internet2 Networks, Greg Wood, 04/18/2000
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