The Photomixers

The Photomixers are a crew of infared heterodyne spectroscopists who study the composition, conditions and dynamics of planetary atmospheres from Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

In their spare time they have produced five parodies of pop songs with a scientific bent, four of which are featured here. The fifth one, Jupiter 2009, was inspired by the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 2009 and was a parody of Prince's 1999 and fell victim to the over zealous copyright enforcement of Prince's music company and was removd from YouTube.

It can be very difficult to assemble and tune a precision scientific instrument while oxygen-deprived and cold at the summit of a mountain. Still, sometimes, everything works out perfectly, and we get lucky at the Cassegrain focus, the spot at the back of the telescope where we install the instrument. This video is from two runs at the IRTF telescope to observe Saturn and Mars, with music provided by Debbie and John to celebrate the experience. The tune is traditional, "Sally Ann."


Stick with it! Timing is the essence of grad school. Tim, Kelly, Juan, John, and Ted went back out to the IRTF observatory on the Big Island of Hawai'i with the HIPWAC spectrometer. We had to get this video out before Juan leaves us to go to grad school. Enough of this now...let's get back to work. "Your thesis advisor's standing by!"


The HIPWAC co-investigators were born to heterodyne, and the staff of the IRTF observatory makes it a reality! At the "Hotel Mauna Kea" on the Big Island of Hawai'i, Ted, Tim, Kelly, and Ramsey observed with the HIPWAC spectrometer, whose spectral resolving power is greater than 1,000,000 (trust us, that's good!). "We want resolved spectra lines! We were born to heterodyne!"


Experience the plight of astronomers at the 14,000-foot summit of Mauna Kea! Veteran observers John A., Juan D., Kelly F., Ted K., and Tim Livengood took the HIPWAC spectrometer to the IRTF observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii and were inspired to write the lyrics to "Hotel Mauna Kea". Here, Juan, Kelly and Ted perform the song and all co-investigators star in this above-the-clouds music video.