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Astronomy & Space

Local students get an Akamai experience at telescopes on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui

Akamai interns around podium

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi System were among the 29 participants in the 2017 Akamai Internship Program that gives college students from Hawaiʻi an opportunity to gain a summer work experience at an observatory, company or scientific/technical facility in Hawaiʻi. The students spent the eight-week program working on research projects with mentors at a variety of STEM facilities on HawaiʻiIsland and Maui including the telescopes on Maunakea and Haleakalā. …

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Hawaiʻi students expand research and astronomy skills

Students and staff of the 2017 HI STAR program

Twenty middle and high school students from Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island learned core astronomy and research skills at this year’s HI STAR program. HI STAR, the Hawaiʻi  Student Teacher Astronomical Research program, is a week-long summer astronomy program held at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for students entering grades 8–11. This was the 11th year of the program. Students gain an in-depth understanding of astronomy throughout the week of intense HI …

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Astronomers discover variability in the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades Cluster

The brightest members of the Pleiades cluster form a spectacular group of naked-eye stars that have played a central role in cultures around the world for millennia. Native Hawaiians used the Makaliʻi to mark the beginning of the new year and the beginning of “tax collecting season,” while the “Seven Sisters” feature prominently in ancient Greek mythology. But not everything is known …

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Total solar eclipse illuminated by UH astronomers

During 2017’s total solar eclipse, the first to cross North America since 1918, Hawaiʻi will be well represented by Institute for Astronomy astronomer Shadia Rifai Habbal and other University of Hawaiʻiscientists. When the moon completely blocks the sun, Habbal’s team of international scientists will collect data as they have done during 14 eclipses since 1995. “Witnessing the event—which happens over an hour, when you are going from …

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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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