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Astronomy & Space

[VIDEO] Architecture is key for future Mars exploration

No one ever said space exploration would be comfortable. Inhospitable environments, deadly atmospheres, the possibility of storms and other natural outer space disasters—how will humans be able to both survive and thrive on places like Mars? One answer, is architecture. “Our entire lives, on other worlds, are going to be contained within the buildings we make while we’re there or …

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[VIDEO] Newly discovered asteroid is Earth’s companion

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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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