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A Time video featuring IfA astronomer Nader Haghighipour and the W. M. Keck Observatory.
Does intelligent life exist beyond Earth? If so, how might we find it? These will be some of the questions discussed at the second Sheraton Waikiki Explorers of the Universe lecture when Dr. Jill Tarter, chair of the SETI Institute, speaks at the UH Manoa Kennedy Theatre on May 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The cancellation of earmarks by the U.S. Congress in 2011 left Pan-STARRS, one of Hawai‘i’s flagship programs, $10M short of the funds needed to complete the historic 2-telescope system — and on the verge of folding. Thanks to an anonymous $3M gift, Pan-STARRS will survive the cuts and continue astronomy research of global import.
After nearly a decade of careful observations, an international team of astronomers, including two from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has measured the distance to our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, more accurately than ever before.
A new experiment simulating conditions in deep space reveals that the complex building blocks of life could have been created on icy interplanetary dust and then carried to Earth, jump-starting life. Dr. Ralf Kaiser, a chemist who is a team member of the UH NASA Astrobiology Institute, participated in the research.
In the realm of potential planetary disasters, asteroids are among the ones to fear—like the meteorite that hit Russia today, they can inflict serious damage on Earth. With the aid of a $5-million grant from NASA, a University of Hawaii team of astronomers is developing ATLAS, a system to identify dangerous asteroids before their final plunge to Earth.
A video of this Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event is now available.
A team of astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Hawaii at Manoa has found that 17 percent of all sun-like stars have planets 1 to 2 times the diameter of Earth in close orbits. The finding, based on an analysis of the first three years of data from NASA’s Kepler mission, was announced January 8 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach, California.
Part of the gift will give the IfA Director flexibility to enhance the IfA's programs, and advance the education and research missions of IfA. Funds will be used to recruit and retain talented faculty, support quality research and provide seed research funding, particularly among promising junior faculty.
IfA astronomers made new observations of asteroid 2011 AG5 that show that this asteroid, previously thought to have a significant potential to threaten Earth, no longer poses a significant risk of impact.
Using computer simulations, scientists from Hawaii and Finland have figured out how wide binary stars—two stars that orbit each other at a distance up to a light-year—form.
A group of astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the U.S. Mainland, Canada, and Europe recently used the twin telescopes of the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to conduct a census of the brightest, but until now unseen, galaxies in the distant Universe, bringing astronomers one step closer to understanding how galaxies form and evolve.
On November 30, construction at the ATST site began following a formal Hawaiian Blessing. The event was attended by Board Chair Dan Clemens, AURA President William Smith, IfA Director Gunther Hasinger, ATST co-investigator Michael Knoelker, and others.
An international team of astronomers known as the SEEDS project has taken images of a very large planet around a star in the constellation Andromeda. This star, called Kappa Andromedae b (Kappa And b, for short), is 2.5 times as massive as the Sun and only about 30 million years old. The images were obtained with two infrared cameras mounted on the Subaru Telescope, HiCIAO and IRCS that were built at the IfA by K. Hodapp and A. Tokunaga, respectively.
Taking an image of a faint planet very close to an overwhelmingly bright star requires a combination of several advanced technologies: adaptive optics to sharpen up the images, coronographic optics to block most of the star's light, infrared cameras to detect the faint glow of the planet, and sophisticated data reduction software to separate the planet's image from the residual glare of the star. The paper describing this work, soon to be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, points out that the newly discovered super-Jupiter is just at the upper mass limit for planets (13 times the mass of Jupiter), and may actually produce some energy by the nuclear fusion of deuterium.
IfA astronomer Michael Liu and IfA graduate student Brendan Bowler have worked with Evgenya Shkolnik, a former postdoctoral fellow at IfA who is now an astronomer at Lowell Observatory, to create a set of directions for finding exoplanets (planets around other stars). Their paper, recently published in The Astrophysical Journal, examined new and existing data from stars and brown dwarfs that are less than 300 million years old. Two telescopes on Mauna Kea (Keck and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope) played significant roles in the project.
A decision of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, issued November 9, 2012, reaffirms the granting of the December 2, 2010 Conservation District Use Permit for the construction of the ATST on Haleakalā.
Following the announcement, IfA Director Günther Hasinger said, "The ATST will lead to tremendous advances in our understanding of the Sun, including those aspects of its variable activity that affect life on Earth. We are very pleased that the Land Board recognized these benefits in reaffirming the permit that it granted in December 2010."
Combining observations from Mauna Kea with data taken by telescopes in space, astronomers at the Institute for Astronomy (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and their collaborators have developed a technique that allows them to map collisions of giant galaxy clusters in three dimensions.
In this season of ghosts, goblins, and zombies, the UH NASA Astrobiology Institute (UH NAI) and the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa present “It’s Not a Zombie Apocalypse: Scientific Views of Threats to Humanity.” This Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event will take place on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the UH Manoa Art Building Auditorium. Admission is free, parking on campus costs $6, and costumes are optional.
Axes and machetes might protect us from imaginary zombies, but what about real threats to human existence? They might come from the sky, from natural phenomena on Earth, from human activities, or from some combination thereof. These are real, though not necessarily immediate.
The beautiful PS1 image of the Lagoon-Trifid region is the October 12 Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).
Dr. Olivier Guyon, who worked at IfA during the final years of his PhD thesis research, has received one of 23 MacArthur Fellowships, also known as the “genius grants.” Recipients receive a $500,000 no-strings-attached grant over five years. While at IfA, Guyon worked with IfA faculty member François Roddier. He received his PhD from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2002 and now works at both the Subaru telescope on Hawai‘i island and at the University of Arizona, where he is an assistant professor. He specializes in designing telescopes and the instruments for them.
An international research team used images from the Pan-STARRS 1 survey telescope at Haleakalā Observatories on Maui to probe a distant galaxy some 9.5 billion light-years away. The dying star is the most distant stellar explosion of its kind ever studied.
A team of astronomers that includes Dr. Nader Haghighipour of the University of Hawaii at Manoa has discovered the first two-planet system orbiting two stars. The announcement was made today at a symposium taking place as part of the triennial International Astronomical Union meeting being held in Beijing.
Join us on September 5 for a preview screening of Saving Hubble, a documentary about the American people's successful fight to save the Hubble Space Telescope, 7 p.m. in the Art Building Auditorium (room 132) at UH Mānoa. Free.
The sun is nearly the roundest object ever measured. If scaled to the size of a beach ball, it would be so round that the difference between the widest and narrow diameters would be much less than the width of a human hair.
IfA alumna Sarah Jaeggli (PhD 2011), IfA solar astronomer Haosheng Lin, and Han Uitenbroek (National Solar Observatory) have received a 2012 AURA Science Award for work that explains the very high magnetic fields often observed in sunspot umbra. Jaeggli’s doctoral dissertation formed the basis of this work, which was published in the February 1, 2012, issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
AURA (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy) is a consortium of universities and other institutions that operates world-class astronomical observatories, including the Gemini telescopes on Mauna Kea and in Chile and the Space Telescope Science Institute, which carries out the scientific mission of the Hubble Space Telescope.
University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy releases remarkable first infrared astronomy image taken by its telescope on Mauna Kea with new 16-megapixel HAWAII 4RG-15 image sensor.