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ATST Renamed the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope

Naming Plaque for Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope

Jennifer Sabas (formerly Inouye’s chief of staff), William Smith (AURA president), Irene Inouye (the senator’s widow), David Lassner (University of Hawai‘i interim president), James Ulvestad (director of the NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences), and Valentin Pillet (director, NSO) unveiled the plaque naming the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. The plaque reads, “The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope is dedicated to the memory of Senator Inouye in honor of his distinguished service to his country, to his beloved Hawai‘i, and to the advancement of scientific understanding and expansion of knowledge for all mankind.” Photo courtesy NSF/AURA.

The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, now under construction on Haleakalā on Maui, was renamed the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) on December 15. The name honors the late senator’s profound commitment to fundamental scientific education and research, particularly in astronomy.

When completed in 2019, the four-meter Inouye telescope will be the world’s most powerful ground-based solar telescope. It will enable astronomers to gain new insights into solar phenomena, thereby protecting the nation’s vital space-based assets, the power grid, and communication and weather satellites. It will provide incomparable data to allow researchers to see more clearly into the heart of sunspots, flares, and other manifestations of solar activity. Befitting the legacy of Senator Inouye, the telescope will be pivotal in training the next generation of solar physicists and instrument builders as it hosts undergraduate and graduate opportunities and imparts curriculum development for local schools.

 “Over five decades of national public service Senator Inouye was a strong proponent of American science and innovation,” said NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett. “This remarkable facility in his beloved state of Hawai‘i will expand our knowledge and advance our nation’s scientific leadership over many decades to come.”

 “The senator’s enthusiastic support for our nation’s science and technology enterprise was unwavering,” said William Smith, AURA president. “AURA is confident that the facility that will bear his name will result in scientific discoveries that will vastly expand our knowledge of the Sun and its interactions with Earth and our atmosphere.” AURA, which operates the National Solar Observatory (NSO), is building and will operate this NSF-owned, state-of-the-art telescope.