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IfA and UHNAI astronomer Nader Haghighipour has been elected president of Division F (Planetary Systems and Astrobiology) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for 2015-18. In this capacity, he will have an important role in promoting and encouraging the study of planetary systems around our sun and outside our solar system, as well as the search for life in the universe, one of the most vital fields of astronomy today.
For the second year in a row, a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA) has received the Robert J. Trumpler Award, given by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific to recognize a recent PhD thesis considered unusually important to astronomy. The 2015 recipient is Dr. H. Jabran Zahid, who received his PhD in 2014.
An amazing video about Maunakea and preparing Hawai‘i's youth for a digital future by PBS and Internet2.
The international Solar Wind Sherpas team, led by Dr. Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy, braved Arctic weather to successfully observe the total solar eclipse of March 20 from Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago east of northern Greenland. Their preliminary results are being presented at the Triennial Earth-Sun Summit in Indianapolis.
Heather Kaluna became the first Native Hawaiian to complete the UH PhD program in astronomy on May 14. She is shown in the picture on the right with her dissertation advisor Dr. Karen Meech. Kaluna's dissertation is entitled "Evolution of Water in Carbonaceous Main Belt Asteroids." We congratulate the new Dr. Kaluna on this achievement.
Hawaii is the best place on Earth to observe the heavens. Astronomers are deeply grateful to the Hawaiian people for allowing access to the precious skies over Mauna Kea. Nearly every astronomical breakthrough in the last 50 years involved telescopes in Hawaii.
With the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), Hawaii will maintain its leading position creating new knowledge about the universe.
A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, 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.
In 2004, astronomers examining a map of the radiation leftover from the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) discovered the Cold Spot, a larger-than-expected unusually cold area of the sky. The physics surrounding the Big Bang theory predicts warmer and cooler spots of various sizes in the infant universe, but a spot this large and this cold was unexpected.
Now, a team of astronomers led by Dr. István Szapudi of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa may have found an explanation for the existence of the Cold Spot, which Szapudi says may be “the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity.”
The Polynesian Voyagers were some of the best astronomers of their time and brought the Hawaiian ancestors to these islands, using the best technology available at their time. Modern astronomy in Hawai‘i begins with King David Kalākaua, who invited an expedition of British astronomers to Hawai‘i in 1874 to observe the transit of Venus.
IfA astronomer R. Brent Tully made world news when he identified the full extent of our home supercluster of 100 thousand galaxies and named it Laniakea. The recipient of numerous prestigious astronomical awards, he has chosen to build on IfA’s global prominence by using $264,000 of his prize money to establish the R. Brent Tully Distinguished Visitors Endowed Fund for the Institute for Astronomy.