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Astronomy & Space

The cosmic velocity web

The cosmic web—the distribution of matter on the largest scales in the universe—has usually been defined through the distribution of galaxies. Now, a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, by a team of astronomers from France, Israel and Hawaiʻi demonstrates a novel approach. Instead of using galaxy positions, they mapped the motions of thousands of galaxies. Because galaxies are pulled toward gravitational attractors …

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UH alumni contribute to black hole discovery in the Milky Way

A research team led by Japanese astronomers using data taken with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), have conducted detailed radio spectral observations of molecular gas around the nucleus of our Milky Way Galaxy. The team of researchers theorize that Stellar Mass Black Holes are causing two compact gas clouds towards the center of the Milky way to exhibit some highly unusual …

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New research uses satellites to predict end of volcanic eruptions

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end. Using NASA satellite data, Estelle Bonny, a graduate student in the SOEST Department of Geology and Geophysics, and her mentor, HawaiʻiInstitute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) researcher Robert Wright, tested a hypothesis first published in 1981 that detailed how lava …

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UH astronomer to build sharper eyes for Maunakea telescope

The University of Hawaiʻi‘s 2.2 meter (88-inch) telescope on Maunakea will soon be producing images nearly as sharp as those from the Hubble Space Telescope, thanks to a new instrument using the latest image sharpening technologies. Astronomer Christoph Baranec, at the UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA), has been awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build an autonomous adaptive optics system called Robo-AO-2 for the UH telescope. Construction …

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Institute for Astronomy celebrates 50 years of discovery

Since its founding on July 1, 1967, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) has played a role in almost every significant astronomical discovery. IfA is responsible for the observatories on Maunakea, the most productive astronomy site in the world, and on Haleakalā, the world leader in asteroid and Near Earth Object detection. IfA recently celebrated its …

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Ralf Kaiser named American Chemical Society fellow

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Physical Chemist Ralf I. Kaiser has been elected to the 2017 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for his outstanding contributions to science and the profession, and for his equally exemplary service to ACS. Kaiser is one of 65 members who will be inducted at the ACS National Meeting on August 21 …

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Exoplanet family tree gains a new branch

Since the mid-1990s, when the first planet around another sun-like star was discovered, astronomers have been amassing what is now a large collection of exoplanets—nearly 3,500 have been confirmed so far. In a new study, researchers have classified these planets in much the same way that biologists identify new animal species and have learned that the majority of exoplanets found …

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Shine bright like a diamond: Team obtains best-ever infrared maps of super-luminous galaxies

An international team of astronomers, including University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate student Jason Chu and Professor David Sanders, has used the Herschel Space Observatory to take far-infrared images of the 200 most infrared-luminous galaxies in the local universe. Initially cataloged by the NASA Infrared Astronomical Satellite in 1984 as part of the first all-sky survey at far-infrared wavelengths, these …

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Separating true stars from wannabes

Astronomers have shown what separates real stars from the wannabes. Not in Hollywood, but out in the universe. “When we look up and see the stars shining at night, we are seeing only part of the story,” said Trent Dupuy of the University of Texas at Austin and a graduate of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaiʻi …

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New evidence of frost on moon’s surface

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists, including University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher Paul Lucey, have identified bright areas in craters near the moon’s south pole that are cold enough to have frost present on the surface. The new evidence comes from an analysis that combined surface temperatures with information about how much laser light is reflected …

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