Telescope Instruments: LRIS

Instrument: Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrograph
Telescope: Keck I
Wavelength: visible light
Instrument Scientist: Dr. Luca Rizzi
Description: One of Keck Observatory’s oldest instruments. Takes detailed spectra and images of the faintest, most distant known objects in the universe and is able to record spectra of up to 50 objects simultaneously.
Unique Feature: It is superbly sensitive to both red light (longer wavelengths) and blue light (shorter wavelengths), which LRIS captures simultaneously using two separate cameras working together. LRIS is highly flexible with numerous configurations and modes, including spectroscopy, imaging, and polarimetry, making it an extremely versatile instrument.
Research Specialty: Used for almost any type of research, such as studying distant galaxies, active galactic nuclei, quasars, planets, and asteroids. Its range of possibilities has led it to produce 0.95 scientific papers per night.
Notable Contributions: Played a key role in research determining the universe is expanding at a faster rate, which led to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. LRIS also did the first study of the cosmic web, which led to the creation of KCWI.

“LRIS requires very high maintenance, but despite its age, no one wants to give it up. It is such an important instrument, astronomers love to take good care of it and put in the time for it.” ~ Dr. Luca Rizzi