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Robotic Laser Astronomy on the Rise: System Developed by UH Astronomer to Get New Home at National Observatory

The world’s first robotic laser adaptive optics system, developed by a team led by University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomer Christoph Baranec, will soon find a new home at the venerable 2.1-meter (83-inch) telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. This system, renamed Robo-AO KP, will be the world’s first dedicated adaptive optics astronomical observatory and will allow astronomers to take an unprecedented number of highly detailed images of a wide range of celestial objects.

Press release



Discovery of Tenth Tatooine-like Circumbinary Planet

A team of astronomers at the International Astronomical Union meeting in Honolulu, including University of Hawaii astronomer Nader Haghighipour, will announce on August 14 the discovery of the tenth transiting circumbinary planet. Reminiscent of the fictional planet Tatooine in “Star Wars,” circumbinary planets orbit two stars and have two “suns” in their skies. The new planet, known as Kepler-453 b, takes 240 days to orbit its parent stars.

Press release


Is there life in the Alpha Centauri system?

Scientists from the University of Hawaii, including Jeff Kuhn, David Harrington, and John Messersmith, are part of a team headed by Prof. Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina, a visiting scientist at the University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute, that has proposed a sensitive technique for detecting life on other planets. This technique could be instrumental in searching for life in the planetary system nearest to the sun, Alpha Centauri, with existing telescopes.

Press release


IfA astronomer to head international astronomical division on planetary science and astrobiology

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.

UH News story


A UH Graduate Wins Prestigious Trumpler Award, Again

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.

Press release



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