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Rolf-Peter Kudritzki

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From the Director

IfA Director Rolf Kudritzki and his intrepid assistant, Nancy Lyttle, dressed in their superhero attire on October 31. Photo by Bob Chinn digitally enhanced by Heidi Sakuma, courtesy of University Relations.

Dear Friends of Hawaii Astronomy,

When was the last time that you were called a superhero? Well, it happened recently to the IfA astronomers. The Honolulu Advertiser, in its editorial of October 10, wrote,

Talk about superheroes. The esteemed University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy has received an assignment to save the Earth. . . .

Using a system of smaller telescopes, astronomers should be able to catalogue all the asteroids close to the Earth that threaten to strike. That kind of monitoring would give us humans decades of notice before any collision, and thus time to knock them out of the Earth's path. What a cool mission.

I do not have much to add. The editorial is very accurate. It is simply fun to be the director of an institute that has taken on nothing less than the task of helping to defend the planet. Our Pan-STARRS telescope project will detect and track the potentially dangerous asteroids that threaten the whole Earth. In addition to asteroid detection, the data generated from the project will be used to tackle fundamental scientific problems ranging from the origin of the solar system to the properties of the Universe on the largest scales. The processed data will be made freely available over the Internet to researchers and the general public throughout the world. As such, the project represents a fantastic opportunity for education, both for the state and for the broader global community.

I have taken the Honolulu Advertiser editorial very seriously. I decided that given our role as superheroes, new outfits for my secretarial staff and me would be appropriate on October 31.


Rolf-Peter Kudritzki


Open House 2003

Please come to our Open House in April. Details at this online location coming soon.



The New Center for Star and Planet Formation
Pan-STARRS to Search for "Killer Asteroids"
Musical Astronomers Help Raise Funds
for Hawaii Public Radio
Phase II Construction of Faulkes Telescope Underway

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