Remote observing is now the dominant mode of operation for both Keck telescopesand their associated instruments. Over 90% of all Keck observations arecarried out remotely from the Keck Headquarters in Waimea, Hawaii. The majority of Keck observers, however, are affiliated with research institutions located on the U.S. mainland, primarily in California. To observe with the Keck telescopes, most of these astronomers currently travel several thousand kilometers in order to sit in a Keck remote control room located tens of kilometers from the telescopes. Given recent improvements in network infrastructure and facilities, many of these observations can now be conducted directly from California.
This report describes the operation of a Keck telescope remote observing facility located at the UCO/Lick Observatory headquarters on the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California (UCSC). This facility currently enables remote operation and engineering of Keck optical instruments via Internet-2. The facility was initially located in temporaryquarters and became operational on a trial basis in September 2001. In June 2002, the facility moved to permanent quarters and became fully operational in July 2002.
We examine in detail isssues of Internet network bandwidth and reliability, and describe the design, routing implementation, and operation of an automated fall-back network utilizing dialed ISDN telephone circuits and routers. This report also briefly describes the status of efforts to establish Keck remote observing facilities at other California sites, and how the fall-back network design could be expanded to support multiple sites.