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Newsletter No. 51 is now available online.

 

New Astrophysics and Astronomy undergraduate degrees launched

The UH Board of Regents has approved adding two new programs to the UH Mānoa College of Natural Sciences – a BA in Astronomy and a BS in Astrophysics. The programs will be a cooperative effort of the Physics and Astronomy Department and the Institute for Astronomy. The board approved the new programs at its meeting on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Press release

 

Laser-Wielding Robot Probes Exoplanet Systems

An international team, including IfA's Christoph Baranec , is using the world’s first robotic laser adaptive optics system—Robo-AO— to explore thousands of exoplanet systems (planets around other stars) at resolutions approaching those of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Press release

 

ATLAS Project on Track to achieve first light by year's end

The ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) project is coming together well within its budget and timeline. By the end of 2014, Telescope 1 on Mauna Loa should achieve first light. IfA alumnus Brian Stalder has joined the project as a postdoctoral fellow.

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Thirty Meter telescope to Begin Construction

Following the approval of a sublease on July 25 by the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) announced it would begin the initial phase of construction, with activities near the summit of Mauna Kea scheduled to start later this year. Previously, Kahu Ku Mauna and the Mauna Kea Management Board reviewed, and the University of Hawaii Board of Regents recently approved, the proposed TMT sublease. The final approval from the Board of Land and Natural Resources—the last step in the sublease process—allows TMT to begin on-site construction on Maunakea, home to many of the world's premier observatories.

TMT press release

 

Record Precision Achieved in Mass Map of Galaxy Cluster Discovered from Maunakea

An international team of astronomers, including Dr. Harald Ebeling of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy, has used the Hubble Space Telescope to map the mass within a galaxy cluster, originally discovered with Maunakea telescopes, more precisely than ever before.

Press release

 

Tully Wins Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize

IfA astronomer Brent Tully is a co-winner of the 2014 Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize. Established in 2009 by the president of Armenia in commemoration of the great Armenian astrophysicist, it has been awarded every two years since 2010 to those who have made an important contribution in astronomy/astrophysics and related sciences.

Press release

 

UH Receives Major Contract for Inouye Solar Telescope Instrument

The National Science Foundation and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST)have announced the award of a major contract to the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy to build the Cryogenic Near Infrared Spectropolarimeter (CryoNIRSP) for the new solar telescope, which is now under construction on Haleakala.

Press release

 

Silhouettes of Early Galaxies Reveal Few Seeds for New Stars

An international team of astronomers, including IfA astronomer Regina Jorgenson, has discovered that gas around young galaxies is almost barren, devoid of the seeds from which new stars are thought to form—molecules of hydrogen.

Without starlight to see them directly, the team observed the young galaxies’ outskirts in silhouette.

Press release

 

Tully wins Wempe award

IfA astronomer R. Brent Tully has won the Wempe Award given by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) "in recognition of his groundbreaking research about the structure of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the cosmos."

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Jason Chu photo on APOD

IfA graduate student Jason Chu, who took some of the photographs that rotate on the top of this page, had one of his photos of Mauna Kea telescopes featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on Monday, June 23. APOD is a NASA web page that features astronomy-related pictures and videos with captions that explain them. It is translated into numerous languages for people throughout the world.

APOD

 

Tully Wins Major Cosmology Prize

IfA astronomer R. Brent Tully is one of four recipients of the 2014 Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize for his role in understanding the structure and evolution of the nearby universe.

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HI STAR Alumni Excel at Intel Science Fair, TED Talks

Students who have participated in HI STAR (Hawai‘i Student/Teacher Astronomy Research), an IfA program that encouranges middle and high school students to excel in the sciences by teaching them how to do astronomical research, picked up a bundle of awards at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles. Six of the 25 students from Hawai‘i who went to ISEF were students who had previously attended HI STAR, and nine of the 18 awards won by Hawai‘i students were won by HI STAR alumni. Several HI STAR alumni also gave impressive TEDx youth talks that can be accessed online.

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