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Astronomy & Space

[VIDEO] Newly discovered asteroid is Earth’s companion

Asteroid 2016 HO3 has an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA) discovered a small asteroid that has been in an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth. The asteroid, designated 2016 HO3, was detected in April by the Pan-STARRS telescope on Haleakalā, and subsequent research into Pan-STARRS archives revealed faint images of it as ...

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[VIDEO] Astronomy program for Hawaiʻi high school students prepares future science leaders

The UH Mānoa Institute for Astronomy HI STAR class.

For a decade, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy’s summer program has attracted middle school and high school students from across the state. It’s called Hawaiʻi Student/Teacher Astronomy Research or HI STAR. “This program introduces students from across the state of Hawaiʻi to the basic practices of science,” said Geoff Mathews, UH Mānoa astronomy instructor. “Science is ...

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Largest, widest orbit Tatooine bolsters planet formation theories

Artist’s impression of the simultaneous stellar eclipse and planetary transit events on Kepler-1647. Such a double eclipse event is known as a syzygy. (Figure credit: Lynette Cook)

A team of astronomers, including University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy Associate Astronomer Nader Haghighipour, announced the discovery of an unusual new transiting circumbinary planet (orbiting two suns). This planet, detected using the Kepler spacecraft, is unusual because it is both the largest such planet found to date and has the widest orbit. The team is led by Veselin Kostov, ...

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High school Maunakea Scholars reach for the stars

Maunakea Scholars and teachers on the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope catwalk in front of Gemini-North

Students from Waiakea and Kapolei High Schools spent the night at the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope (CFHT) in the inaugural Maunakea Scholars program. The program provides Hawaiʻi high school students direct access to some of the world’s most powerful telescopes as well as mentorship for independent astronomy research projects ranging from quasars to exoplanets. Andreea Petric, CFHT resident astronomer and University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy graduate ...

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Undergraduate investigates how to grow plants in space

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Aleca Borsuk, a senior Mechanical Engineering student in the College of Engineering, worked with mentor, Kent Kobayashi, associate horticulturist in Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the College of Tropcial Agriculture and Human Resources, on a project which used artificial lighting to simulate amaranth grown in space. She presented this work at the Spring 2016 Hawai’i Space Grant Consortium Fellowship & Traineeship ...

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Are black holes the dark matter?

Left: This image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows an infrared view of a sky area in the constellation Ursa Major. Right: After masking out all known stars, galaxies and artifacts and enhancing what’s left, an irregular background glow appears. This is the cosmic infrared background (CIB); lighter colors indicate brighter areas. The CIB glow is more irregular than can be explained by distant unresolved galaxies, and this excess structure is thought to be light emitted when the universe was less than a billion years old. Scientists say it likely originated from the first luminous objects to form in the universe, which includes both the first stars and black holes. Photo Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/A. Kashlinsky (Goddard)

A few months ago the news about the discovery of gravitational waves from two merging black holes with about 30 solar masses each rippled through the scientific community and caused a lot of excitement even among non-scientists. Almost exactly 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted them, gravitational waves were finally observed, and also gave proof that black holes exist — ...

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UH reports progress on governor’s 10 point plan for Maunakea

Maunakea observatories

On May 26, 2015, Governor David Ige announced a 10 point action plan for the stewardship of Maunakea. Here is an update, as of May 2016, on the steps the University of Hawaiʻi has taken to meet its obligations set by the governor’s plan. UH Action Status 1. Accept its responsibility to do a better job in the future COMPLETED— ...

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Back from the deep freeze: A piece of the early Solar System returns

Artist’s impression of the unique rocky comet C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS). (image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Astronomers have found a unique object that appears to be made of inner Solar System material from the time of Earth’s formation, which has been preserved in the Oort Cloud for billions of years. Originally identified by the University of Hawaiʻi’s  Pan-STARRS1 telescope, C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS)  is a weakly active comet a little over twice as far from the Sun ...

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Record number of women doctoral candidates awarded prestigious dissertation fellowships

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Six University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa doctoral candidates, in programs ranging from astronomy to social welfare have been selected to receive the esteemed Founder Region of Soroptimist International Dissertation Fellowship for the 2016–2017 academic year. This is the largest number University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa applicants that were awarded fellowships, beating out the University of California, Berkeley and other California ...

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Assistant professor wins CAREER award for research on cosmic rays


Philip von Doetinchem, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa physics assistant professor, has won a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award for his project, “Dark Matter Identification with Cosmic-Ray Antideuterons,” which is expected to total $708,390 for five years. Doetinchem’s research program is focused on the study of cosmic rays, charged particles originating from violent events deep in outer space. ...

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