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Newsletter No. 51 is now available online and in PDF.

 

UH provides earthquake-damaged Japanese observatory with dome on Haleakala

A Japanese planetary research observatory was blessed and dedicated on September 8 at Haleakala Observatories on the Hawaiian island of Maui in the presence of about 25 scientists and administrators from the United States and Japan.

Press release

 

Movie of VERY near Earth Asteroid 2014 RC

On Sunday, September 7, 60-foot-wide (18-meter) asteroid 2014 RC will come within 25,000 miles (40,000 km) of Earth. That's almost as close as some weather and communications satellites in geosynchronous orbits. IfA astronomer David Tholen has generated a movie of 2014 RC. He used the UH 2.2-meter telescope to take 120 exposures during a little over an hour of observing time. At the standard frame rate of 30 frames per second, the movie lasts 4 seconds.

Movie

 

Hawaii Scientist Maps, Names Laniakea, Our Home Supercluster of Galaxies

IfA 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 work is the cover story of the September 4 issue of the prestigious journal Nature.

Press release

 

New Astrophysics and Astronomy undergraduate degrees launched

The UH Board of Regents has approved adding two new programs to the UH Mānoa College of Natural Sciences – a BA in Astronomy and a BS in Astrophysics. The programs will be a cooperative effort of the Physics and Astronomy Department and the Institute for Astronomy. The board approved the new programs at its meeting on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

More

 

Laser-Wielding Robot Probes Exoplanet Systems

An international team, including IfA's Christoph Baranec , 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.

Press release

 

ATLAS Project on Track to achieve first light by year's end

The ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) project is coming together well within its budget and timeline. By the end of 2014, Telescope 1 on Mauna Loa should achieve first light. IfA alumnus Brian Stalder has joined the project as a postdoctoral fellow.

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Thirty Meter telescope to Begin Construction

Following the approval of a sublease on July 25 by the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) announced it would begin the initial phase of construction, with activities near the summit of Mauna Kea scheduled to start later this year. Previously, Kahu Ku Mauna and the Mauna Kea Management Board reviewed, and the University of Hawaii Board of Regents recently approved, the proposed TMT sublease. The final approval from the Board of Land and Natural Resources—the last step in the sublease process—allows TMT to begin on-site construction on Maunakea, home to many of the world's premier observatories.

TMT press release

 

Record Precision Achieved in Mass Map of Galaxy Cluster Discovered from Maunakea

An international team of astronomers, including Dr. Harald Ebeling of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy, has used the Hubble Space Telescope to map the mass within a galaxy cluster, originally discovered with Maunakea telescopes, more precisely than ever before.

Press release

 

Tully Wins Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize

IfA astronomer 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.

Press release

 

UH Receives Major Contract for Inouye Solar Telescope Instrument

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.

Press release

 

Silhouettes of Early Galaxies Reveal Few Seeds for New Stars

An international team of astronomers, including IfA astronomer Regina Jorgenson, has discovered that gas around young galaxies is almost barren, devoid of the seeds from which new stars are thought to form—molecules of hydrogen.

Without starlight to see them directly, the team observed the young galaxies’ outskirts in silhouette.

Press release

 

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