mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Haleakala Observatories

PS1 msss mees lco t4 zodiacal light

Latitude: 20.71552 Longitude: -156.169 Altitude 10,000

Because of the remarkable clarity, dryness, and stillness of the air, and its location above one-third of Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the limited light pollution, the summit of Haleakala is one of the most sought-after locations in the world for ground-based telescopes. As a result of the geographic importance of this observational platform, experts come from all over the world to take part in research at "Haleakala Observatory", an astrophysical complex operated by the University of Hawaii, United States Air Force, LCOGT, and others.

Some of the telescopes operated by the Air Force are involved in researching man-made (spacecraft, monitoring satellites, rockets, and laser technology, etc.) rather than celestial objects. The program is in collaboration with defense contractors located in the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei.

Mees Observatory

The Mees Solar Observatory is unique in that it has many instruments attached to a single equatorial spar. There are a variety of experiments including a white-light imager, imaging-vector-magnetograph (IVM), high-resolution spectrograph, imaging polarimeter, and other visiting and facility instruments.


ATLAS is an asteroid impact early warning system being developed by the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA. It consists of two telescopes, 100 miles apart, which automatically scan the whole sky several times every night looking for moving objects. For more information, see


Prototype telescope (PS1) is single-mirror prototype for Pan-STARRS proposed to be built on Mauna Kea. The first complete Gigapixel Camera was installed in August 2007. It was commissioned In December 2008 for a 3.5-year series of tests and scientific studies under the aegis of the PS1 Scientific Consortium. Prototype telescope (PS2) will be constructed in the dome next to PS1.

LCO Faulkes Observatory

The Faulkes Telescope Project is the education arm of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGTN). Its aim is to encourage teachers and students to engage in research-based science education by providing free access to robotic telescopes and a fully supported education programmer.

TLRS-4 Laser Ranging System


TLRS-4 at HO is to maintain the time-series of satellite laser ranging (SLR) data produced by LURE, an earlier generation laser ranging experiment on Haleakala. This is critical to the investigation of the long-period geophysical phenomena being studied. Further, the loss of the only SLR site in the Northern Pacific Ocean has degraded the accuracy of satellite orbits derived from the data produced by the worldwide system of SLR sites.

Zodiacal Light Observatory


The Zodiacal Light Observatory houses 2 instruments.

The SOLARC instrument is a 0.5 meter, off-axis corona graphic reflecting telescope with a fiber-fed imaging spectropolarimeter. The telescope is used for a number of solar and coronal experiments.

The Day-Night Seeing Monitor (DNSM) optical seeing monitor system uses a differential image motion measurement (DIMM) technique to obtain seeing (R0) statistics. 


Advanced Electro-Optical System [AEOS]


The 3.67-meter AEOS telescope is the Air Force's largest and most advanced telescope system. This is a joint AFOSR-NSF initiative that focuses on making the AEOS telescope available for research and instrument development. The University of Hawai'i operates a high-resolution visible and infrared spectrograph and spectropolarimeter facility instrument on this telescope.

Maui Space Surveillance Site


The Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS) includes the Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS), an asset of the US Air Force Materiel Command's Phillips Laboratory,. the Maui Optical Tracking and Identification Facility (MOTIF), and a Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) site operated by US Air Force Space Command.