mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Special Events

If you would like to be notified of future events by e-mail, send an e-mail to

For more information about events on Hawai‘i Island, see the website of the Mauna Kea Astronomy Outreach Committee.

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 25, 2014

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Looking into the Hearts of the Solar System," Dr. Stuart Jefferies, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

The four largest objects in our solar system are the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. In addition to size, they share another common trait: they harbor deep secrets about their internal structure and dynamics. Dr. Jefferies will describe some new ground-and-space-based projects that are underway at IfA-Maui to uncover these secrets using the sound and gravity waves generated by these four celestial spheres, and techniques developed for terrestrial seismology.

Saturday, May 3, 2014 13th Annual AstroDay Festival, from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m., at the Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo, Hawaii. For a list of presenters and activities go to
Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sheraton Waikiki Explorers of the Universe public lecture: Prof. Alex Filippenko (UC Berkeley), "The Big Bang Theory, Inflation, and the Multiverse: An English Major's Introduction to the Birth and Early Evolution of the Universe" UH Mānoa Kennedy Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets free but required. Go to to obtain them. Do not call Kennedy Theatre. NOTE: Latecomers with tickets may not be seated, as people without tickets will be seated on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 7:20 p.m.

Based on observations and theory, astronomers generally believe in a “big bang” origin for the cosmos—a hot, dense beginning probably characterized by exceptionally rapid expansion, when the Universe grew at a rate much faster than the speed of light. Very recently, compelling new evidence for such “inflation” was found from exquisite studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the afterglow of the big bang. Natural extensions of these ideas suggest that our Universe may be part of a grander structure known as a “multiverse,” and possibly quite rare in terms of having complexity and life.

Alex Filippenko, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, is a world-renowned expert on some of the most dramatic fields in astronomy, including exploding stars, black holes, active galaxies, and cosmology. He is the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research, and he was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the Nobel-worthy accelerating expansion of the Universe. Voted the “Best Professor” on the Berkeley campus a record nine times, he has produced five astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appeared in about 100 TV documentaries. In 2004, he received the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.

September 12–14, 2014 HawaiiCon, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Hawaii Island. IfA is a sponsor and will be providing speakers on scientific subjects, including killer asteroids, exoplanets, and black holes. We hope to also provide a remote observing experience.

Earlier Events

Monday, April 14, 2014 Lunar Eclipse Viewing, beginning 7:30 p.m., at Kapi‘olani Park (Soccer Field #5 on Paki Avenue near the corner of Monsarrat Avenue, with free parking in lots accessible from Monsarrat and on the streets) and also behind the Kahuku Public Library. IfA will have telescopes and binoculars to give members of the public the opportunity to see the eclipsed Moon and other celestial sights. Though the eclipse will start at 6:53 p.m., it will not be visible until 7:58 p.m., and the most interesting part, when the Moon will be very dark and possibly blood red, will take place from 9:06 p.m. to 10:24 p.m. You may hear media reports that say the eclipse is on April 15, but in Hawai‘i it is on April 14, so don’t miss it by being a day late.
Friday, April 11, 2014

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Mid Century Life on Mars," Doug Turnbull, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Enjoy a video of the talk posted online at:

Science fiction author, Doug Turnbull, covers popular mid 20th century concepts of life on Mars.

Sunday, April 6, 2014 Mānoa Open House, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the IfA, 2680 Woodlawn Drive in Mānoa. Family event with activities for all ages. Free.
Friday, March 28, 2014

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Gold Rush in Space," Dr. Mark Willman, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

The space age started in 1957, and commercial exploitation of Earth's orbital space is now well advanced. However, business has just begun to target space beyond Earth's orbit. Last year, three companies formed to mine asteroids for minerals. Whether these ventures come up empty or produce a huge bonanza depends on how much valuable ore is accessible.

March 6–14, 2014

Journey through the Universe in Hilo, Hawai‘i

Hilo is currently one of 10 communities around the nation that are designated Journey through the Universe sites. The Journey program brings together the local students and teachers with astronomers and engineers who not only share their passion and knowledge for science and technology but also inspire local students to aim high in their education and future careers.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hilo, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., ‘Imiloa's 8th Annual KTA Family Free Day with Journey through the Universe (Flier)

On Thursday, March 12, there will be a free lecture, "What is the Role of a Hollywood Science Advisor," by Dr. Kevin Grazier, science advisor for the recent film Gravity, at 7:00 p.m. in the UH Hilo Science & Technology Building, Room 108. Flier

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, "Beyond Earth: Strategies for Long-Term Human Survival," with Dr. Roberto H. Méndez (IfA), 7:30 p.m., UH Mānoa Art Building Auditorium (room 132). Free Admission (Campus Parking $6) Flier

Streamed live online at

Earth is not a safe place. Geological and paleontological evidence indicates that life on Earth has been punctuated by several mass extinctions caused by hazards both local (ice ages, volcanoes) and external (comet or asteroid hits). To optimize our chances of long-term survival (millions of years), we must colonize the solar system and then spread across the Galaxy. This talk will describe a plausible strategy that does not depend on finding Earth-like planets around other stars.

Thursday, February 27, 2014 Dr. Jim Bell will give a free public talk about unlocking the mysteries of Mars, 7 p.m. at UH Hilo Science & Technology Building, room 108.
Friday, February 21, 2014

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Journey to Ancient Star Clusters," Guy Jette, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Globular clusters are incredible stellar relics from our Milky Way's formation, offering insights into the early history of our galaxy. This talk will provide a fascinating look at these densely packed star groups—what they are, where they are, where they come from, and how they might relate to dark matter and black holes. We will use the Hertzstrung-Russell diagram to gain understanding about how the ages of these star systems are determined, and we will discuss where and when you can find them in the Hawaiian night sky. We will journey to the center of one of these clusters, and ponder what the skies might look like within these densely packed clusters. And we will contemplate if life is possible in these primordial stellar arenas.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Larry Denneau, the chief software engineer for the ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial Last-Alert System) project will give the next talk in the Hawaii Space Lecture Series, "ATLAS:  Saving the World from Asteroid Impacts" at 7:30 p.m. inthe Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center int the Pacific Ocean Science and Technology (POST) Building, room 544, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Free.
Saturday, January 25, 2014

2014 Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day, 8:00 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. at the University of Hawai‘i Hilo. Free.

A day of science and space exploration! Online registration is open to students in grades 4-12, and parents, and teachers of any grade level. This is the 14th anniversary of the Astronaut Onizuka Science Day and the 29th anniversary of Ellison Onizuka's first flight into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery, STS 51-C, which launched on January 24, 1985.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Telescopes: Big and Small," Dr. Alan Tokunaga, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

While new large telescopes garner much of the press coverage, mid-size telescopes (less than about 4 meters in diameter) continue to be major contributors to astronomical research. Dr. Alan Tokunaga, who grew up on Maui, is the director of the 3.0-meter NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea that is operated for NASA by the University of Hawai‘i, and is dedicated to planetary science and mission support. He will highlight the research done with the IRTF and will also review the increase of telescope aperture over the past 400 years, including telescopes as large as 40 meters in diameter that are now being planned.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Talk: "Mathematical Conversation Starters," Prof. John de Pillis (University of California, Riverside), 7 p.m., UH Hilo Science & Technology Building, room 108. Sponsored by the UH Hilo Department of Physics and Astronomy. Flier

The talk will be general, drawing material from his book, 777 Mathematical Conversation Starters that contains jokes, anecdotes, and mathematical facts and lore. There will be lots of on-the-spot cartoons.

November 27, 2013 At 5 p.m.: IfA's Andrew Howard and Erik Petigura will be on Bytemarks Cafe on HPR2 to discuss exoplanets.
Friday, November 22, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "What Makes the Sun Shine: An Introduction to Solar Physics," Dr. J.D. Armstrong, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

The Sun is the dominant driver of Earth's climate. Almost all the energy we use here on Earth comes from the Sun. We will follow the travels of a photon from where it is generated in the core of the Sun until it reaches Earth. Along the way we will visit many of the interesting tourist attractions.

November 7, 2013

Dr. Richard Griffiths will be presenting his talk: "The Greatest Telescope not on Earth; Latest Discoveries from the Hubble Space Telescope" at 7 p.m. at UH Hilo's Science and Technology Building, Room 108. Free. If you have any questions, please email John Coney at Poster

"Join us on a journey to learn about one of the most famous telescopes ever used, the Hubble Space telescope. A talk for all ages, you will learn about the trials and tribulations of this space telescope, as well as some of amazing discoveries it has made."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, "Monsters in the Dark: Supermassive Black Holes and Their Destructive Habits," with Dr. Nicholas McConnell, 7:30 p.m., UH Mānoa Art Building Auditorium (room 132). Free Admission (Campus Parking $6). Streamed live online at and archived at

Supermassive black holes are among the strangest and most powerful objects in the Universe. During short but violent growth spurts, they can profoundly alter the galaxies in which they reside. But which black hole horror stories are myths, and which are true? This talk will describe how astronomers hunt for black holes, and the messy aftermath when they gobble and feast.

Nicholas McConnell is the Beatrice Watson Parrent Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy. His research focuses on stars and black holes in the Universe’s largest galaxies. Using telescopes on Mauna Kea, he has measured some of the largest black holes ever discovered.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "A Thousand Worlds," Dr. Marcelo Emilio, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

At this time, scientists have confirmed the existence of 992 exoplanets in 755 planetary systems. There is now what scientists are calling a zoo of planets. Some planets are so different from our own that they resemble the fictional planet Star Wars Tatooine, which had two suns. In this talk Dr. Marcelo Emilio will explain the main detection methods used to find exoplanets and describe some characteristics of the almost thousand worlds discovered. The talk will also cover some of Dr. Emilio's own research hunting for exoplanets.

Friday, September 27, 2013

7th Annual IfA Maui Open House 6-8 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Information: 808-573-9500 Flier

Stargazing through telescopes, lab tours, science demonstrations, talks.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "AMOS: The Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site," Dr. Skip Wiliams. IfA, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

AMOS is the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site. As a part of the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AMOS provides state-of-the-art capabilities in the areas of space surveillance, imaging systems, active illumination, and high performance computing. Come learn what AMOS is all about from Dr. Skip Williams, AMOS Chief Engineer.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sheraton Waikiki Explorers of the Universe public lecture: Ed Lu, "Astronomy Saves the World: Protecting the Planet from Asteroid Impacts," UH Mānoa Kennedy Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets free but required. Go to to obtain them. Do not call Kennedy Theatre. NOTE: Latecomers with tickets may not be seated, as people without tickets will be seated on a first-come, first-seat basis starting at 7:20 p.m. The talk will also be streamed live at

Ed Lu, a former NASA astronaut, and before that a postdoctoral fellow at the IfA, is now chairman and CEO of the B612 Foundation, which seeks to protect Planet Earth from asteroid impacts by finding such asteroids in time to deflect them. Dr. Lu says, "Asteroids hit the Earth more often than most people realize (as we saw on Feb. 15, 2013 over Russia). I will describe the risk of asteroid impacts, and the surprising fact that we can actually prevent these cosmic natural disasters. In fact, we already know how to deflect an asteroid to keep it from hitting the Earth. But this technology is useless unless we do one crucial step first. I will tell the story of our efforts to accomplish this necessary first step and to help literally save the world. "

Friday, July 5, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "The Orbital Perspective," astronaut Ron Garan, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Astronaut Ron Garan will present a talk about life in space and the perspective of our planet from orbit, including a question and answer session. Ron is an astronaut, a highly decorated fighter pilot and test pilot, explorer, entrepreneur, and humanitarian who has traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet during more than 178 days in space and over 27 hours of EVA during four spacewalks.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Beautiful Atmospheric Sights," Dr. Alex Filippenko (UC Berkeley), 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Learn how the interplay of light with the atmosphere can produce rainbows, solar and lunar halos, the elusive green flash, sun dogs, colorful sunrises and sunsets, and other beautiful effects.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 Viewing of the partial solar eclipse outside the entrance to the Honolulu Zoo, 2:30-5:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 4, 2012

AstroDay, a celebration of astronomy and Hawaiian culture, Prince Kūhiō Plaza, Hilo, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sheraton Waikiki Explorers of the Universe public lecture: Jill Tarter, SETI Institute, “Are We Alone: Current Efforts to Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” UH Mānoa Kennedy Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets free but required: -- Flier -- Press Release

Does intelligent life exist beyond Earth? If so, how might we find it? Using the tools of astronomers, SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is systematically looking for evidence of technologies produced by distant, alien civilizations. Find out what we've learned and what's next.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Cosmic Snowballs," Dr. Karen Meech, IfA, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Once feared as omens of cosmic and earthly catastrophe, comets are now used to explore the birth processes of our solar system. In the past 300 years we have only had a dozen spectacularly bright comets; comet ISON coming close to the Sun in November, may be another. Come join us to see how comets may have played a role in making Earth suitable for life, and how you can view one of these ethereal celestial bodies this fall.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 Mānoa Open House, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the IfA, 2680 Woodlawn Drive in Mānoa. Family event with activities for all ages. Free.
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Join us for FAMELAB!
7-9 p.m. Reception follows.
Coral Ballroom 4, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, 2005 Kalia Road
Free and open to the public (but probably a charge for parking). Flier

THINK AMERICAN IDOL...BUT FOR SCIENTISTS! Think Goodall, Sagan, and American Idol for the next generation of scientists. Ten regional finalists face expert judges, each spinning three minutes into a magical evening of science storytelling. And while the judges deliberate, NOAA Fisheries Lead Scientist for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, Charles Littnan, will explain how National Geographic's Crittercam technology reveals a closer look on the seal's daily lives and how this helps to protect them. Come cheer on these brave souls and journey with them to the cutting edge of exploring Earth and beyond!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things: How Science Has Changed Our Perception of Light, Space, and Time," Dr. Gary Greenberg, IfA, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

We human beings perceive the world around us through our senses and our brain. However, we are limited in our perception of time, space, and light. Photography has allowed us to extend our perception of space by integrating microscopes and telescopes with the modern camera. The extraordinary nature of ordinary objects is revealed when the universe is seen through the lens of modern technologies. In this presentation, we will see that everyday objects take on a new reality when magnified thousands of times, illuminating the hidden secrets of nature.

March 13-19, 2013 Keck Week: A celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the W. M. Keck Observatory. March 16, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the very first science observations made by the Keck I telescope on Mauna Kea. Free events will include an open house at the Waimea (Big Island) headquarters from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, and a showing of the film Contact on Sunday, March 17 at 7 p.m. at an outdoor lawn space in the Kohala Coast Resort area, followed by stargazing. Other events will include a science meeting, gala, tennis toournament, and a reception.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Comet viewing at Magic Island. Free and open to the public. 6:30 p.m. at picnic area 36, which is near the beach on the ewa end of the Magic Island.    
Flier in English
   Flier in Japanese
Saturday, March 9, 2013 Comet viewing at Ko Olina. Potluck at 5 p.m., comet viewing around sunset, followed by stargazing. For IfA donors, staff, and their friends and family, as well as Ko Olina residents. Please RSVP to Karen Toyama in the IfA Director's Office, 956-8566 or We would like to know how many guests will be in your party, if you are joining the potluck, and what type of food you plan to bring. Flier
Friday, February 15, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Fermi's paradox revisited: Where are extrasolar civilizatons, and do we have the technlogy to find them?" Dr. Jeff Kuhn, IfA, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

We now know that we're surrounded by habitable extrasolar planets. Even half a century ago, before we knew of any extrasolar planets, Fermi speculated that the absence of any "proof" for extraterrestrial civilization could be important news for life on Earth. Today his query is even more compelling. This talk will describe a new idea for completing a nearby extraterrestrial cosmic census and describe some of the technology that exists today to undertake it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, "Great Comets: What Makes Them So Great?" with Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons from Queen's University Belfast (Northern Ireland), 7:30 p.m., UH Mānoa Art Building Auditorium (room 132). Free Admission (Campus Parking $6). Streamed live on line. Poster Now available on video!

About once a decade, a truly spectacular comet is visible even through the bright city lights. This year, we may see two of them. Historically, these appearances have induced both fear and wonder. In modern times, the wonder remains, and scientists use them to gain new insights into the nature of comets and the history of our solar system. While we cannot do anything about how often they appear, new facilities such as the Pan-STARRS telescope on Maui can give us advance warning about when they will arrive. But what makes a comet "great" anyway? Come along and find out.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Kitt Peak and the Observatories of Southern Arizona," Guy Jette, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Kitt Peak National Observatory was the first major observatory complex when established over fifty years ago. This national observatory became a catalyst for the numerous astronomical sites of southern Arizona. The evening's talk will discuss why and how a national observatory came to be, and why it was sited at Kitt Peak. The evening's speaker, Guy Jette, will discuss the major observatories/telescopes in operation at this site, including the McMath Solar Telescope, which has been the largest solar telescope for fifty years. This distinction will soon pass to the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope now under construction on Haleakalā. The relationships between other telescopes in southern Arizona and those on both Haleakalā and Mauna Kea will be highlighted. The talk will include key research, from Kitt Peak's major role in identifying the existence of dark matter to a new $100 million dollar project called Big BOSS (Baryonic Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey), a project with ties to Haleakalā's Pan-STARRS.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Observing Planets from Haleakalā: Looking for traces of life on other planets," Dr. Sho Okano, Tohoku University, Japan, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, "It's Not a Zombie Apocalypse: Scientific Views of Threats to Humanity," 7:30 p.m., UH Mānoa Art Building Auditorium (room 132). Free Admission (Campus Parking $6).

A UH NASA Astrobiology-selected panel of experts will discuss threats to Earth, including asteroid impacts, volcanism, and threats from technology and biology.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "How to Find Life on Other Planets," Prof.Svetlana Berdyugina, University of Freiburg, Germany and UH NASA Astrobiology Institute Senior Fellow, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier


Friday, September 28, 2012

Sixth Annual IfA Maui Open House, 6 to 8 p.m.: Look through a telescope, lab tours, science demonstrations, talks about Haleakala, the roundest object, Pan-STARRS, and more. Free Admission. Flier with map.

UH Manoa
Wed., 7:00 PM
Sept. 5, 2012

Thursday, 6:00 PM
Sept. 6, 2012
Maui Poster
(with directions)
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. At 4 p.m. near the auditorium, there will be a display of images taken by HST and the opportunity to view the Sun through telescopes equipped with solar filters, weather permitting. After the 70-minute film, there will be a Q&A with David Gaynes, the movie's director and, weather permitting, stargazing. Free. Campus parking, $6. Sponsored by the IfA, the UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor for Research, and the Friends of the IfA. Poster
Sunday, August 5, 2012 Rover Curiosity Lands on Mars. 6-8 p.m. Watch the NASA feed of the landing at the IfA Mānoa auditorium with scientists from IfA and Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics & Planetology. Free. More information about the landing.
Thursday, August 2, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "A Universe of Universes? Reflections on Life and the Cosmos," Prof. Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life.

The laws of physics, as well as anthropic reasoning, may imply the existence of multiple universes, only a small minority of which couid be suitable for the development of complexity and life as we know it. Come hear arguments favoring the existence of a "multiverse," of which our Universe is one special member.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Student Research with the Faulkes Telescopes," Dr. J. D. Armstrong, IfA, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

The Faulkes Telescope North, here on Maui, and the Faulkes Telescope South, in Siding Springs Australia, are both 2.0 meter telescopes. Large enough for professional astronomers to use for real research, these telescopes were specifically built for education and outreach. This gives students in Hawai‘i and elsewhere an unprecedented opportunity to use a research-grade telescope for their research. Students have have taken their own data to study asteroids, supernova, variable stars, exoplanets, the Universe! I will describe a few examples of the amazing work in which kids are involved.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sheraton Waikīkī Explorers of the Universe public lecture: 2011 Nobel Laureate for Physics Brian Schmidt, "The Accelerating Universe," Kennedy Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are free, are required for admission. They are available at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus, noon to dusk

IfA will have telescopes with solar filters and free solar viewers for safe viewing at Waikīkī Beach, at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, and at Ko Olina near Lagoon 4. Free! Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. Sunglasses do not provide enough protection.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Searching for Earths,"Dr. Debra Fischer, Yale University, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Seventeen years ago, astronomers wondered whether planets orbited other stars, perhaps inhabited by beings that were peering back at us. Now we know that exoplanets abound — but what are these other worlds like, and how does our own solar system stack up? Are there good prospects for finding habitable worlds? How Earth-like do other planets need to be for astronomers to consider them good prospects for life? Astronomers are developing clever techniques to detect rocky worlds and to figure out if anyone is there.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event: Talking Transit: The Sun-Venus-Earth Connection: A panel discussion about the upcoming transit of Venus. Dr. Paul Coleman will speak about Hawaii's historical role in astronomical research using the 1874 transit of Venus as an example, Dr. Shadia Habbal will speak about the Sun and its connection to Venus and Earth, Dr. Peter Mouginis-Mark will talk about Venus itself, and Dr. Roy Gal will speak about the transit on June 5. 7:30 p.m. in the Art Building Auditorium (room 132), UH Mānoa. Free. Campus parking $6.
Friday, May 18, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words (as long as it is not too blurred)," Dr. Stuart Jefferies, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life.

People rely heavily on visual information. Not surprisingly, digital imagery now plays a pivotal role in the global research arena, especially in the physical sciences and medicine. However, there are limits to the level of detail that can be seen in an image. These limits depend on both the details of the imaging instrument and the conditions under which the images are acquired. Two research areas that are active on Maui where improved image detail is strongly desired, but which is often extremely difficult to achieve, are astronomy and surveillance. In both cases we are regularly faced with the task of trying to extract meaningful information from imagery that looks to be hopelessly blurred. Moreover, we don't know what the object being imaged looks like or the details of how the image is blurred.

Sunday, April 29, 2012 IfA Mānoa Open House, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Mānoa.

Activities, talks, displays, and demonstrations for all ages. Free admission and parking.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "The New Solar System," Dr. Marcelo Emilio, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union modified the definition of "planet" and created a new category, "dwarf planet," that includes some of the larger asteroids and trans-Neptunian objects, the icy bodies orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune. In the last decade, both spacecraft sent to explore the solar system and ground-based observations have made exciting discoveries, including new dwarf planets and several moons. In this talk, Dr. Marcelo Emilio (Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Brazil) will cover several characteristics of planets, dwarf planets, moons, comets, and asteroids, and he will describe a technique called "stellar occultation" that is used to get information about trans-Neptunian objects.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Stargazing Party

Ko Olina Resort – 4th Lagoon Lawn between Marina and Ocean
7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.
Potluck dinner at 6:00 p.m.

Sponsored by
Friends of the UH Institute for Astronomy
Stars Above Hawaii at Ko Olina
Ko Olina Resort


Friday, March 16. 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Light Pollution on Maui," Dr. Joe Ritter, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Over-illumination wastes approximately two million barrels of oil per day in the United States alone. Light pollution is a serious issue for all of us on Maui and is one of the most rapidly increasing types of environmental pollution. It threatens sea turtle and bird populations, obscures the stars, and multiple studies indicate negative impacts on human health. Municipalities all over the world, including Maui, are considering switching to white LED street lighting with potentially adverse effects. However, relighting, with low blue content “spectrum compliant lighting” can result in large energy savings and reduced maintenance costs while still allowing good color rendition, protecting wildlife, human health and astronomy. Come learn about this important issue!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, "The Quest for Habitable Worlds," Dr. Nader Haghighipour of the IfA & UH NASA Astrobiology Institute, Art Building Auditorium (room 132), UH Mānoa, 7:30 p.m, Free Admission (campus parking $6). Fl ier (pdf, 2 Mb)

Recent advancements in ground- and space-based astronomy have resulted in the discovery of several extrasolar planets that are only a few times the size of Earth. Some of these have surface temperatures favorable for the development of life. Dr. Haghighipour will explain how he and his collaborators find these planets and how they evaluate their potential for life.

Dr. Nader Haghighipour received his doctorate in planetary dynamics in 1999 from University of Missouri-Columbia. After a series of postdoctoral positions at the University of California-Irvine, Northwestern University, and Carnegie Institution of Washington, he joined the Institute for Astronomy and UH astrobiology program in 2004. He has been a member of NASA Astrobiology Institute since its creation in 1998, first through UCLA, then through Carnegie, and since 2004 through the IfA.  Dr. Haghighipour's research is on the formation and detection of habitable planetary systems.  He has several projects on the formation of planets and the origin of Earth's water, including a collaboration on the detection of main-belt comets. Another major part of his research is on the detection of (habitable)  planets in binary star systems (worlds with two suns). In addition to his busy research schedule, Dr. Haghighipour has edited a book on the topic of planets in binaries.  He has been invited to join the team of the collaborators of the Kepler space telescope in the planet-binary working group.  IfA recently issued a press release about one of his new discoveries of a new habitable planet.  Dr. Haghighpour recently received a Humboldt fellowship award to work on planets in binary star systems. As part of that award, he will spend a year in Germany at the Max Planck Institute and Tuebingen University.


March 1-9, 2012

Journey through the Universe, Hilo.

Thursday, March 1, 2012:
Master Educators/Astronomers' Workshop: 8 a.m.–12 p.m. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center
Astronomy Educators will join the Master Educators 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Friday, March 2 & Monday–Thursday, March 5–8, 2012:
Astronomy Educators will make classroom visits to Participating Schools

Saturday, March 3, 2012:
Journey Community Keynote and Workshops: 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at Hilo High School Flier

Sunday, March 4, 2012:
Journey through the Universe Family Science Day: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center with KTA Flier

Monday, March 5, 2012:
Hawai'i Chambers of Commerce Appreciation Event: 5–8 p.m. at Hilo Yacht Club Flier

Wednesday, March 7, 2012:
Journey through the Universe Family Science Night: 6–9 p.m. at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: "Discovery of the Cosmos," Russ Genet, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online and on Second Life. Flier

Over the centuries, scientific models of the cosmos have undergone major revisions. An Earth-centered model reigned supreme until Copernicus proposed and Galileo's observations confirmed a simpler sun-centered universe. By the late 1600s, Kepler's analysis and Newton's calculus had turned our solar system into a cozy clockwork universe, and astronomers understood that stars are extremely distant suns. In the early 20th century, Edwin Hubble discovered that spiral-shaped nebulae are galaxies well outside our Milky Way and that the universe is expanding. The latest word is that its expansion is accelerating—a runaway universe pushed apart by mysterious dark energy.

Russ Genet is a Research Scholar in Residence at California Polytechnic State University and Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Cuesta College. In the 1980s he pioneered automated telescopes, robotic observatories, and remote Internet access. Russ was the 92nd President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Maikalani Community Lecture: Amateur Astronomy Night with Becky Sydney and Steve McGee, 6:30 p.m. at the Maikalani building in Pukalani, Maui. Free. Also streamed live online. Flier

For over 20 years, Becky's passion for astronomy has developed into her true vocation and way of life. She founded the Maui Astronomy Club and teaches throughout the community. Come learn more and Join the Club!

Steve McGee is a member of the Haleakala Amateur Astronomers, and has developed a passion for observing binary stars. He will discuss the history of binary star observations and why it is still important to observe them.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The City Dark, a feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky, 7 p.m. in the UH Mānoa Art Auditorium. Free and open to the public (campus parking $6). Join us for the screening and discussion with filmmaker Ian Cheney and astronomer Dr. Richard Wainscoat, IfA's resident expert on light pollution.

The City Dark premiered in competition at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize for Best Score/Music. Filmmaker Ian Cheney, who moved to light-polluted New York City from rural Maine, asks, "Do we need the dark?" Exploring the threat of killer asteroids in Hawai‘i, tracking hatching turtles along the Florida coast, and rescuing injured birds on Chicago streets, Cheney unravels the myriad implications of a globe glittering with lights—including increased breast cancer rates from exposure to light at night, and a generation of kids without a glimpse of the universe above. Featuring stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists (including IfA's Jeff Kuhn), philosophers, historians, and lighting designers, The City Dark is the definitive story of light pollution and the disappearing stars. Watch the trailer!

Sponsored by the Institute for Astronomy, Enterprise Honolulu, the Halekulani, Rebuild Hawai‘i Consortium, and the State of Hawai‘i