Hidden telescope gives stargazers a glimpse of outer space

Ken Archer
Ken Archer

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

WEST OAHU (KHNL) - There's an observatory hidden on Oahu that can capture comets, asteroids, and galaxies.

For security reasons, KHNL has been asked not to reveal where the observatory is at. But we did get a sneak peek.

It's a robotic eye, that can see light years away, from the Eagle Nebula, the Whirlpool Galaxy, and even a comet in action.

"We found an asteroid the other night that was 1.753 astronomical units from earth that was sitting between Mars and Jupiter," said Ken Archer, President of Ironwood Remote Observatories.

Archer invented the dome which houses a low-end telescope. He did that on purpose, with schools in mind, to prove science doesn't have to come with an astronomical price tag.

"The way observatories are built on campus right now are a large waste of money," he said.

Archer's system is only about seven by eight feet, solar-powered, and completely automated.

You can open and close the dome, move the telescope, and snap images from home or school. It's all internet operated and computer-controlled.

"The observatory will start itself at night will shut itself down in the morning," said Archer.

The observatory can even protect itself from bad weather.

"What we have here is a weather system that sends it information to the observatory here. What it does is measure wind speed, direction, humidity, and temperature," said Archer's son Reid, a partner in the company.

"If we have any problems with weather, the roof will automatically close, the cover on the telescope will actually shut," said Archer.

The Archer's celestial vision is to build an observatory farm, with 15 to 20 of these systems for multiple schools to use so students who dream of unlocking the mysteries of outer space can shoot for the stars, and beyond.

You can see the observatory in action, live online.

To check out what the telescope is seeing at night, we've set up a link on this page of our website.