• From left: Chris Ratliffe, Dave Cowley, Michael Peck, Jerry Cabak.

Engineering Lab

The Engineering lab is responsible for some of the best astronomical instruments on this (or as far as we know, any) planet. The group works closely with various project Principal Investigators to produce designs that allow the instruments to meet, and many times exceed, the initial system requirements. The combination of talents in this department takes the projects from the conceptual stage and forges those concepts into working drawings that are then passed on to the Fabrication Shop for fabrication.

Current Projects for Keck Observatory


Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI) is an integral-field spectrograph optimized for precision, sky-limited spectroscopy of low-surface-brightness phenomena. KCWI will feature high throughput, and flexibility in field of view, spatial sampling, bandpass, and spectral resolution. KCWI will cover the optical spectral regime using optimized blue and red channels in a manner similar to LRIS.

The two dimensional spectroscopic capability and sensitivity of KCWI will allow it to investigate science questions as far-ranging as nebulae around dying stars, the coupled evolution of galaxies and quasars, and glowing gas surounding the first stars.

The camera barrel assembly (with its many cells) will be designed, fabricated, and assembled at Lick and delivered to Caltech Optical Observatories for integration and installation with the instrument.

UCO Principal Investigator: Constance Rockosi


The Keck I Deployable Tertiary Mirror is a deployable tertiary mirror for the Keck I (K1) telescope. It will provide a 5' field-of-view (FOV) to any Nasmyth port, satisfying the observational needs of all current and planned instrumentation on K1 at this focus. Ideally, this mirror will shift between states (stowed, deployed) in less than 15 minutes and provide observations with any K1 instrument on any given night.

K1DM3 will be a major enhancement of flexible observing at Keck, enabling rapid targets of opportunity observations, cadence programs, and ‘bad weather scheduling’ using the suite of K1 instrumentation. The K1DM3 will have the ability to switch between Nasmyth platforms and lock to any desired instrument on either platform. When stowed, it will track with the Cassegrain instrument below (LRIS or MOSFIRE) in order to remain out of the instrument’s FOV. In all other respects the design will be entirely interchangeable and identical in form, fit, and function to the existing M3 equipment module.

Principal Investigator: J. Xavier Prochaska