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From the Director

Dear Friends of the Institute for Astronomy,

Astronomy is very much an international endeavor. The COSMOS project discussed in this issue involves about 80 astronomers from about a dozen countries, as well as telescopes belonging to different nations. The Hubble Space Telescope itself is a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), a consortium of 17 European countries. Of the other space telescopes involved in the COSMOS project, Spitzer, Chandra, and GALEX are NASA projects, while XMM is an ESA project. COSMOS is also using ground-based telescopes on Mauna Kea that belong to 11 nations and the Very Large Telescope in Chile, which is operated by the European Southern Observatory, a consortium of 12 countries.

Why is astronomy so international? Observatories, especially the largest ones on the ground and those in space, are very expensive to build and maintain. The second reason is that there are a limited number of sites suitable for such large, expensive telescopes. It wouldn't make sense to place a first-rate telescope on a second-rate site. That is why observatory sites on the mountains in Hawaii--Mauna Kea and Haleakala--are in such demand. The sites in Chile are the closest equivalent in the Southern Hemisphere.

There is also a third reason. The sky has no borders, and the same is true for astronomy as a science. For centuries, astronomers from all over the world have collaborated with each other to share information about their detections and to prepare for new observations. With no borders in the sky, we also don't care about borders on Earth.

Aloha!
Rolf-Peter Kudritzki
Director, Institute for Astronomy

 

Hilo AstroDay and IfA Manoa Open House

Saturday, April 21, AstroDay at Prince Kuhio Plaza, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free
www.astroday.net/

Sunday, April 29, Open House at IfA Manoa, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free
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Highlights

The Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS)
Antarctic Study Probes Sun's Atmosphere
"Killer Asteroids . . . and what we can do about them"

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 19, Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, "The Cosmic History of Supermassive Black Holes," by Amy Barger, 7 p.m., IfA Manoa Auditorium, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, free
www.ifa.hawaii.edu/specialevents

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