An old spill raising new concerns over telescopes at Mauna Kea. A picture of a hydraulic oil spill making the rounds on social media is gaining traction with opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

One of the biggest criticisms of TMT is its potential impact on the environment, but this case stems from one of the other telescopes already on Mauna Kea -- the Keck observatory.

 

The picture from April of 2018 shows a slow leak of hydraulic fluid was discovered behind dry wall. You can see the pan was used to collect the fluid, which was later disposed of.

Some environmental leaders say this shows a pattern of environmental issues with other telescopes already on the Mauna.

 

"I was born and raised here, and that's my primary duty. And I've done everything in my capacity and so have all my colleagues to do the right thing. And I can say with personal sincerity that that's happening," said Erin Petrosian of the Keck Observatory.

 

Petrosian says she has been working closely with her counterpart part at the TMT to teach them about everything from fire safety to spills and environmental impact. 

She also says to her knowledge there have have been no other leaks since that one started last year.