Keck Observatory video wins 2006 Telly Award for excellence in video production

Kamuela, Hawaii (July 12th, 2006) – An educational video produced by the W. M. Keck Observatory and the production company Earlybird & Friends has won a Silver Telly Award, the highest of the Telly Awards given annually to honor outstanding local, regional and cable TV programs, films and commercials.

The video, titled “The Kecks of Mauna Kea,” was produced last year by the California Association for Research in Astronomy, the organization that operates the Keck Observatory, and the Redmond, Wash. production company, which specializes in video and multimedia storytelling. The winning video is about the observatory’s mission to expand the frontiers of astronomy by building for scientists the world’s two largest optical telescopes, now sitting side by side atop the dormant Mauna Kea volcano on the island of Hawaii.

“We are most pleased to have received a Telly Award for ‘The Kecks of Mauna Kea.’ It vividly captures the extraordinary story of the building of the world’s two largest telescopes and of some of their amazing early discoveries,” said Dr. Frederic H. Chaffee, Director Emeritus of the Keck Observatory.

Earlybird & Friends also won a Telly Award last year for their PBS Hawaii production, “First Light,” about the controversy surrounding the placement of telescopes atop Mauna Kea, a sacred mountain for native Hawaiians.

“I always got a charge of excitement when the Keck telescopes went into action,” said Roland Yamamoto of Earlybird, who directed and wrote “The Kecks of Mauna Kea” along with producer and writer Laura (Kraft) Kinoshita of Keck.

“We always kept in mind that astronomy buffs and science students would love to be where we were, and see what we saw inside the Keck Observatory. So we did our best to create a window for them, into one of world’s most incredible scientific tools.”

Recipients of the 27th annual Telly Awards, announced June 23, were selected from more then 13,000 submissions in 163 commercial and 128 film and video categories, representing all 50 states and numerous foreign countries. Fewer than 10 percent of entrants receive a silver medal, the highest honor; fewer than a quarter receive a bronze. All entries are judged independently, not in competition with one another.

The Telly Awards were established in 1979, each year’s winners representing the best work of the top advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world.

For more information on the Telly Awards, link to


Frederic Chaffee, Observatory Director Emeritus,, (808) 885-7887
W. M. Keck Observatory
California Association for Research in Astronomy
Kamuela, HI 96743