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Photo by Rainer Arlt/AIP, Astronomischen Gesellschaft 2009, Potsdam


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From the Director

Dear Friends of the Institute for Astronomy,

Professional astronomy is a high-tech venture. New telescopes and new instruments enable us to constantly push the boundaries of astronomical discoveries. The IfA is well known for its expertise in developing new instruments for both new and established telescopes. An example of this is highlighted in this issue: IfA's Klaus Hodapp led an effort to build HiCIAO, an instrument on the Subaru Telescope for observing planets around other stars.

Since the late 1960s, the IfA Instrument and Electronics Shops have built instruments for the UH 2.2-meter telescope, NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, Gemini North Observatory, and Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, and the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) Telescope, Advanced Electro-Optical System telescope, and Mees Solar Observatory on Haleakala. 

One interesting fact about astronomical instruments is that they have grown in size over the years, partly because telescopes have gotten bigger and partly because of our ability to build bigger and more sensitive cameras, spectrographs, and adaptive optics systems. When IfA began building instruments, a typical one was the size of a toaster oven. Today, they are more likely to be the size of a car and weigh enough to require a forklift. The Gigapixel Camera on PS1, for example, has a volume of about 9 cubic feet and weighs roughly 500 pounds. Infrared instruments tend to be larger and heavier because they must be in a container that allows them to be cooled to very cold temperatures.

Aloha!
Rolf-Peter Kudritzki
Director, Institute for Astronomy

Announcement

The IfA Manoa Open House will be held on Sunday, April 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the IfA building on Woodlawn Drive. As in past years, there will be activities for both children and adults.

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Highlights

PS1 is Up and Running 
IfA-Built Instrument Finds Star's Cold Companion

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, March 31, Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, "When and How Did Our Planet Become Conducive to Life," 7:30 p.m., UH Manoa Art Building auditorium (Room 132). Free.

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