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Tag Archives: Institute for Astronomy

Robotically discovering Earth’s nearest neighbors

A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaiʻi, California and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets orbit their star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the sun, completing their orbits in just 5, 15 and 24 days. Astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the University …

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Fastest star in our galaxy propelled by a thermonuclear supernova

A team of astronomers, including UH Mānoa astronomer Eugene Magnier, used the 10-meter Keck II and Pan-STARRS1 telescopes in Hawaiʻi to find a star that breaks the galactic speed record. It travels at about 1,200 kilometers per second (about 2.7 million mph), a speed that will enable the star to escape from our Milky Way galaxy. “At that speed, you …

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Second known case of planet in quadruple star system discovered

30 Ari star system

Researchers wanting to know more about the influences of multiple stars on exoplanets have come up with a new case study: a planet in a four-star system. The discovery was made at Palomar Observatory using two new adaptive optics technologies that compensate for the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere: the robotic Robo-AO adaptive optics system, developed under the leadership of …

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Three-planet system holds clues to atmospheres of Earth-size worlds

Kepler spacecraft

Extrasolar planets are being discovered by the hundreds, but are any of these newfound worlds really like Earth? A planetary system recently discovered by the Kepler spacecraft will help resolve this question. The system of three planets, each just larger than Earth, orbits a nearby star called EPIC 201367065. The three planets are 1.5 to 2 times the size of Earth, …

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University of Hawaii assumes ownership of United Kingdom Infrared Telescope

United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Maunakea

On October 31, the University of Hawai‘i (UH) assumed ownership of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Maunakea. The UKIRT is one of the world’s leading astronomical infrared observatories. UH President David Lassner said, “We are pleased to steward the UKIRT, a telescope that has made remarkable discoveries supporting the advancement of astronomical science. It is fitting to add …

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[VIDEO] Introducing Laniakea, our home supercluster of galaxies

Laniakea Supercluster i

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa astronomer R. Brent Tully, who recently shared the 2014 Gruber Cosmology Prize and the 2014 Victor Ambartsumian International Prize, has led an international team of astronomers in defining the contours of the immense supercluster of galaxies containing our own Milky Way. They have named the supercluster “Laniakea,” meaning “immense heaven” in Hawaiian. The paper explaining this …

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Laser-wielding robot probes exoplanet systems

Robo-AO laser

An international team, including Dr. Christoph Baranec of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy, is using the world’s first robotic laser adaptive optics system—Robo-AO— to explore thousands of exoplanet systems (planets around other stars) at resolutions approaching those of the Hubble Space Telescope. The results, which shed light on the formation of exotic exoplanet systems and confirm …

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UH receives major contract for Inouye Solar Telescope instrument

Sun storm

The National Science Foundation and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) have announced the award of a major contract to the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy to build the Cryogenic Near Infrared Spectropolarimeter (CryoNIRSP) for the new solar telescope, which is now under construction on Haleakala. This complex $5 million instrument will allow astronomers to measure the solar …

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Astronomer Dr. R. Brent Tully wins Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize

Galaxies in the local universe

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa astronomer Dr. R. Brent Tully is a co-winner of the 2014 Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize. Established in 2009 by the president of Armenia in commemoration of the great Armenian astrophysicist, it has been awarded every two years since 2010 to those who have made an important contribution in astronomy/astrophysics and related sciences. The Special Astrophysical Observatory …

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UH astronomer wins major cosmology prize

R. Brent Tully.

University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomer R. Brent Tully is one of four recipients of the 2014 Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize for his role in understanding the structure and evolution of the nearby universe. At UH since 1975, Tully came to prominence with the publication of a 1977 paper, written with J. Richard Fisher, proposing a relationship between the masses …

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