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Astronomy & Space

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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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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UH astronomers help local high school students compete for telescope time

Astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi’s Institute for Astronomy are playing a key role in the first program in the world of its kind to provide observing time on a world-class telescope for Hawaiʻi’s aspiring young astronomers. Institute for Astronomy graduate students Kelly Blumenthal and Evan Sinukoff have been working with Kapolei High School and Waiākea High School students as …

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Mystery of disappearing asteroids solved

Ever since it was realized that asteroid and comet impacts are a real and present danger to the survival of life on Earth, it was thought that most of those objects end their existence in a dramatic final plunge into the Sun. A new study published on Thursday in the journal Nature finds instead that most of those objects are destroyed in a …

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Pan-STARRS chases source of LIGO gravity wave event

The email came in the evening of September 15. A potentially significant event had happened at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, during their engineering run. A ripple in spacetime had occurred somewhere in the universe. But where? LIGO had not yet started their formal observing run, and with only two Gravity Wave detectors, one in Hanford, WA, and …

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