Third visit to Mauna Kea and it seemed like it was going to mirror my first visit when we heard that the road to the summit was closed due to icy conditions. Fortunately subsequent messages were more promising and so we set off for lunch at “HP” and would evaluate the situation after lunch. By the time we arrived at the visitor centre conditions looked good and so we were on for tours of both Gemini North and Keck.
The guides at both Gemini North and Keck were excellent and the tours were quite comprehensive. At Keck we disappointed a tour group, who were only allowed in the visitors’ gallery, when we were escorted past them into the observatory. At both facilities we were allowed to check out the primary mirrors close up and Keck even moved the telescope around and allowed us (one at a time) into the mirror barn to have a look at the recently coated mirrors.