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Vision for a Digital Future

An amazing video about Maunakea and preparing Hawai‘i's youth for a digital future by PBS and Internet2.



UH-Led Team Successfully Observes the Solar Eclipse over the Arctic

The international Solar Wind Sherpas team, led by Dr. Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy, braved Arctic weather to successfully observe the total solar eclipse of March 20 from Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago east of northern Greenland. Their preliminary results are being presented at the Triennial Earth-Sun Summit in Indianapolis.

Press release


With astronomy so important to Hawaii, respect is vital

Hawaii is the best place on Earth to observe the heavens. Astronomers are deeply grateful to the Hawaiian people for allowing access to the precious skies over Mauna Kea. Nearly every astronomical breakthrough in the last 50 years involved telescopes in Hawaii.

With the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), Hawaii will maintain its leading position creating new knowledge about the universe.



Robotically Discovering Earth’s Nearest Neighbors

A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, California, and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets orbit their star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the sun, completing their orbits in just 5, 15, and 24 days.

Press release


A Cold Cosmic Mystery Solved

In 2004, astronomers examining a map of the radiation leftover from the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) discovered the Cold Spot, a larger-than-expected unusually cold area of the sky. The physics surrounding the Big Bang theory predicts warmer and cooler spots of various sizes in the infant universe, but a spot this large and this cold was unexpected.

Now, a team of astronomers led by Dr. István Szapudi of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa may have found an explanation for the existence of the Cold Spot, which Szapudi says may be “the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity.”

Press release


Testimony for OHA: Modern History of Astronomy in Hawai‘i by GUenther Hasinger, IfA Director

The Polynesian Voyagers were some of the best astronomers of their time and brought the Hawaiian ancestors to these islands, using the best technology available at their time. Modern astronomy in Hawai‘i begins with King David Kalākaua, who invited an expedition of British astronomers to Hawai‘i in 1874 to observe the transit of Venus.



Award-Winning Hawai‘i Astronomer Funds Endowment to Bring Stars to UH

IfA astronomer R. Brent Tully made world news when he identified the full extent of our home supercluster of 100 thousand galaxies and named it Laniakea. The recipient of numerous prestigious astronomical awards, he has chosen to build on IfA’s global prominence by using $264,000 of his prize money to establish the R. Brent Tully Distinguished Visitors Endowed Fund for the Institute for Astronomy.



Tokunaga, Khayat participate in NASA Research that Suggests Mars Once Had More Water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean

IfA astronomer Alan Tokunaga and graduate student Alain Khayat are part of the team that has discovered that the Red Planet had more water, and had considerable water for a longer time, than previously thought. They used the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, as well as the Very Large Telescope in Chile for this research.

NASA press release and video


Fastest Star in Our Galaxy Propelled by a Thermonuclear Supernova

A team of astronomers, including University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomer Eugene Magnier, used the 10-meter Keck II and Pan-STARRS1 telescopes in Hawaii to find a star that breaks the galactic speed record. It travels at about 1,200 kilometers per second (about 2.7 million mph), a speed that will enable the star to escape from our Milky Way galaxy.

Press release


One Planet, Four Stars: The second known case of a planet in a quadruple star system

Researchers wanting to know more about the influences of multiple stars on exoplanets have come up with a new case study: a planet in a four-star system.

The discovery was made at Palomar Observatory using two new adaptive optics technologies that compensate for the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere: the robotic Robo-AO adaptive optics system, developed under the leadership of Dr. Christoph Baranec of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy, and the PALM-3000 extreme adaptive optics system, developed by a team at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that also included Baranec.

The newfound four-star planetary system, called 30 Ari, is located 136 light-years away in the constellation Aries. The system’s gaseous planet is enormous, with 10 times the mass of Jupiter, and orbits its primary star every 335 days.

Press release


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