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Jan. 4, 2020: American Astronomical Society 235th Meeting in Honolulu

The 235th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society is at the Hawaii Convention Center Jan. 4th-8th. Over 3400 astronomers are attending, making it the largest AAS meeting ever. Public events include:
Sunday, January 5th, 7-9PM: Stargazing at Ala Moana Beach Park (Map)
Monday, January 6th, 7-8:30PM: Free Public Talk at Hawaii Convention Center, Physics of Po (details)

Meeting Website


Dec.16, 2019: Capturing Shooting Stars Over Hawai?i

Astronomers now have a new pair of eyes to detect meteors over Hawai?i using a state-of-the-art monitoring system installed on the rooftops of existing building on Maunakea and Haleakala. The high-speed video devices are now fully operational and part of an expanding network of identical cameras in the Automated Meteor Observation System (AMOS).

Press Release


Nov. 5, 2019: Astronomy graduate student awarded three-year NASA fellowship

A University of Hawai?i at Manoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) graduate student received a three-year NASA fellowship that sponsors rising STEM scientists who will support future NASA discoveries. She is the first UH student to receive this award, worth $55,000 a year.

Press Release


Sept. 26, 2019: Black hole shreds star; UH astronomer on discovery team

For the first time, astronomers have witnessed the immediate aftermath of a star being violently ripped apart by a supermassive black hole. The observations were published Thursday in The Astrophysical Journal. IfA's Benjamin Shappee is part of the team of astronomers led by Carnegie Observatories' Thomas Holoien. Both are founding members of the Ohio State University-based All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN)

Press Release


Sept. 10, 2019: Are black holes made of dark energy?

Two University of Hawai?i at Manoa researchers have identified and corrected a subtle error that was made when applying Einstein's equations to model the growth of the universe. The results suggest that compact objects like black holes could be made of dark energy.

UH Press Release


August 12, 2019: Critical observation made on Maunakea during first night of return to operations

The existing astronomical observatories on Maunakea returned to operations this weekend, and it didn't take long for a significant result to be achieved, not only for science, but for assuring the safety of the Earth. Observations of the near-Earth asteroid 2006 QV89 made on August 11 with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) have ruled out any potential future impact threat to the Earth by this asteroid for the next century.

UH Press Release


August 8, 2019: Astronomers to deploy breakthrough technology at UH telescope

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.1 million grant to a University of Hawai?i at Manoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) scientist to install a high-tech shape-shifting secondary mirror on the UH 2.2-meter telescope on Maunakea.

UH Press Release


July 26, 2019: NASA awards grants to 3 UH grad students

NASA awarded three graduate students at the University of Hawai?i at Manoa with Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) grants, providing $45,000 annually for up to three years for their contributions toward reaching science, technology and exploration goals. One of the awardees is our own Travis Berger. The others are atmospheric science student Madeline McKenna and physics student Cory Gerrity. UHM and UChicago were the only universities to have three awardees, the most of any schools this year.

UH Press Release


July 22, 2019: Astronomers map vast void in our cosmic neighborhood

An astronomer from the University of Hawai?i Institute for Astronomy (IfA) and an international team published a new study that reveals more of the vast cosmic structure surrounding our Milky Way galaxy.

Press Release


July 12, 2019: NASA contract awarded to UH Institute for Astronomy for observatory management

NASA has awarded a contract to the University of Hawai?i Institute for Astronomy to continue to manage and operate the agency's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Maunakea. The potential value of the contract is approximately $30 million. About 30 IfA researchers and staff based in Hilo and Honolulu are involved in supporting the IRTF, which started operations 40 years ago this month.

UH Press Release


July 1, 2019: ?Oumuamua is Not an Alien Spacecraft

An international team of asteroid and comet experts, including two from the University of Hawai?i, agrees on a natural origin for our first interstellar visitor.

Press Release


June 25, 2019: Breakthrough: UH team successfully locates incoming asteroid

For the first time, astronomers at the University of Hawai?i have demonstrated that theirATLAS and Pan-STARRS survey telescopes can provide sufficient warning to move people away from the impact site of an incoming asteroid. They detected a small asteroid prior to its entering the Earth's atmosphere near Puerto Rico on the morning of June 22, 2019.

Press Release


June 20, 2019: TMT receives notice to proceed from the state

Gov. David Ige announced that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) issued a notice to proceed (NTP) to the University of Hawai?i at Hilo for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Maunakea on Hawai?i Island.

UH Press Release


April 25, 2019: UH astronomer earns national award for solar research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded an assistant astronomer at the University of Hawai?i at Manoa Institute for Astronomy one of its most prestigious awards for junior faculty. Xudong Sun received a $620,590 grant for a five-year term from the NSF Faculty Early Career Development program. The award is bestowed on teacher-scholars pursuing cutting-edge research while simultaneously advancing excellence in education.

Press Release


April 16, 2019: Scientists Fill Out A Circumbinary Planetary System

A team of astronomers, including Nader Haghighipour from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai?i at Manoa, have discovered a third planet in the circumbinary planetary system Kepler-47. This discovery cements the system's title as the most interesting of the binary-star worlds, and marks the first complete and dynamically full planetary system around a binary star.

The Kepler 47 binary star system and its planets

Press Release


March 28, 2019: Hawai?i Team Catches Asteroid As It Self-Destructs

Astronomers once thought asteroids were boring, wayward space rocks that simply orbit around the Sun. New observations are turning these ideas on their heads, showing that asteroids are anything but dull. Asteroid Gault, discovered in 1998, has begun to slowly disintegrate. The crumbling was first detected on Jan. 5, 2019 by the IfA's ATLAS telescopes on Maunaloa and Haleakala. Spectacular images of asteroid 6478 Gault from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show two narrow, comet-like tails of debris streaming from the diminutive 2.5-mile-wide asteroid.

Press Release


March 5, 2019: Kepler Space Telescope's First Exoplanet Candidate Confirmed, Ten Years After Launch

The Kepler Space Telescope was launched ten years ago ans has discovered thousands of exoplanets. Today, an international team of astronomers, led by University of Hawai?i graduate student Ashley Chontos, announced the confirmation of the very first exoplanet candidate identified by that mission.

Press Release


February 19, 2019: University of Hawai?i Astronomer Awarded Prestigious Sloan Foundation Fellowship

Daniel Huber, an Assistant Astronomer at the University of Hawai?i at Manoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA), has been selected for a prestigious 2019 Sloan Research Fellowship, one of 126 recipients across the U.S. and Canada.

Press Release


January 28, 2019: World's largest digital sky survey issues biggest astronomical data release ever

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with the University of Hawai?i Institute for Astronomy (IfA), is releasing the second edition of data from Pan-STARRS - the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System - the world's largest digital sky survey.

Press Release


January 8, 2019: University of Hawai?i Astronomer Receives American Astronomical Society's Highest Award

Ann Merchant Boesgaard, Professor of Astronomy, Emerita at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), has been awarded the 2019 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The Russell Prize is the AAS' highest award, and is bestowed annually on the basis of a lifetime of eminence in astronomical research.

Press Release


December 17, 2018: Discovered: Most Distant Solar System Object Ever Observed

A team of astronomers has discovered the most distant body ever observed in our solar system. It is the first known solar system object that has been detected at a distance that is more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun.

The new object was announced on Monday, December 17, 2018, by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center and has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18. The discovery was made by Carnegie Observaties' Scott S. Sheppard, the University of Hawaii?s David Tholen, and Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujillo.

Carnegie Press Release


November 30, 2018: Newly discovered supernova may rewrite exploding star origin theories

A supernova discovered by an international group of astronomers has provided an unprecedented look at the first moments of a violent stellar explosion. The team, led in part by IfA Astronomer Ben Shappee, found a mysterious signature in the light from the explosion's first hour. Follow-up obervations suggest that the traditional original theory for these tupes of supernovae is wrong.

Press Release


November 28, 2018: Waipahu HS student, Maunakea scholar studies Star Wars planet

The Star Wars universe turned from science fiction to science fact for a Waipahu High School student, who observed a real-life "Tatooine" using one of the largest, most scientifically-impactful observatories in the world.

UH Press Release


November 27, 2018: Maunakea Visitor Information Station begins improvements; stargazing and operating hours impacted

The Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS) on Hawai?i Island will adjust its closing time from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Sunday, December 9, for an infrastructure project that will improve visitor safety and to better protect natural, historic and cultural resources. Preparations will begin in December with construction slated to start in January 2019. The project is expected to take about six months.

UH Press Release


November 7, 2018: Best View Yet of Supermassive Black Holes in Merging Galaxies

A team of astronomers, including IfA's David Sanders and former IfA postdoc Mike Koss, have used the W. M. Keck Observatory on Muanakea and the Hubble Space Telescope to complete the most detailed census of supermassive black holes in colliding galaxies. The team's findings support the theory that galaxy mergers explain how some supermassive black holes become so monstrously large.

Press Release


October 2, 2018: While Seeking Planet X, Astronomers Find a Distant Solar System Object

Astronomers have discovered a new object at the edge of our Solar System. The new extremely distant object far beyond Pluto has an orbit that supports the presence of a larger Planet X. The newly found object, called 2015 TG387, was announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center on Monday, October 1, 2018.

Press Release



Sept. 27, 2018: Fundraising in honor of late Native Hawaiian astronomer passes halfway mark

The University of Hawai?i is delighted to announce that the Paul H.I. Coleman Scholarship fund is now more than halfway to the goal of raising a $100,000 endowment to support local high school graduates who choose to study astronomy at UH.

UH News Story


August 15, 2018: ATLAS Asteroid Detection System Will Expand to Southern Hemishphere

The IfA's Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), a NASA-funded telescope network devoted to detecting space rocks that could crash into Earth, will expand into the Southern Hemisphere, which currently lacks a large-scale asteroid-surveillance effort. The additional observatories will not only spot asteroids that could harm people, but also detect comets, supernovae and other benign celestial objects.

Nature Press Release


August 14, 2018: IfA Graduate BJ Fulton Receives Prestigious Trumpler Award

Dr. Benjamin J. (BJ) Fulton, who received his doctorate from the University of Hawai?i at Manoa's Institute for Astronomy (IfA) in 2017, has been awarded the Robert J. Trumpler Award, given by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific to recognize a recent PhD thesis considered unusually important to astronomy. He is the third IfA gradute to receive the award in the past five years.

Press Release


July 16, 2018: Astronomers Find a Famous Exoplanet's Doppelgänger

When it comes to extrasolar planets, appearances can be deceiving. Astronomers from Hawai? and elsewhere have imaged a new planet, and it appears nearly identical to one of the best studied gas-giant planets. But this doppelgänger differs in one very important way: its origin.

Press Release


July 13, 2018: ATLAS telescope pinpoints meteorite impact prediction

A multinational team of scientists has just found the first fragments of the small asteroid 2018 LA, which exploded harmlessly high above Africa on June 2. The University of Hawai?i's Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) telescope took the final images of 2018 LA before it entered Earth's atmosphere and exploded.

2018LA impact prediction map

Press Release


July 12, 2018: Hawai?i telescopes help unravel long-standing cosmic mystery

Astronomers and physicists around the world, including here in Hawai?i, have begun to unravel a long-standing cosmic mystery. Using a vast array of telescopes in space and on Earth, they have identified a source of cosmic rays-highly energetic particles that continuously rain down on Earth from space. In a paper published this week in the journal Science, scientists have, for the first time, provided evidence for a known blazar, designated TXS 0506+056, as a source of high-energy neutrinos.

Press Release


June 27, 2018: Is the Interstellar Asteroid Really a Comet?

The interstellar object ?Oumuamua was discovered back on October 19, 2017, but the puzzle of its true nature has taken months to unravel, and may never be fully solved. Today, an international team led by IfA graduate Marco Micheli and IfA Astronomer Karen Meech reports that it might be a comet, and not an asteroid as initially thought.


Press Release


June 20, 2018: UH astronomy graduate students earn worldwide recognition

Four current and former doctoral students from the University of Hawai?i at Manoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) have been recognized for outstanding research.

Press Release


May 3, 2018: University of Hawai?i Astronomer John Tonry Elected to National Academy of Sciences

University of Hawai?i at Manoa astronomer John Tonry has been named as one of the National Academy of Sciences' 84 newly chosen members. Tonry, who has been with the UH Manoa Institute for Astronomy since 1996, joins an elite group of fewer than 2,400 exceptional scientists worldwide. NAS members are recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Press Release


April 18, 2018: UH Astronomers to Uncover the Secrets of Stars and Exoplanets with NASA's TESS Satellite

Today, NASA launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), its newest telescope to search for planets beyond our Solar System, and astronomers from the University of Hawai?i Institute for Astronomy and Maunakea telescopes will be a part of the adventure.

Press Release


In Memoriam: Paul Coleman

Paul Coleman, an astronomer at the University of Hawai?i Institute for Astronomy, passed away at his home on January 16th, 2018. Paul was the first Native Hawaiian with a doctorate in astrophysics. In his 15 years with the IfA, Paul played a key role in our education and public outreach efforts, and advocated tirelessly for astronomy in Hawai?i.



February 9, 2018: UH ATLAS Telescope spots SpaceX Tesla Roadster in Flight

The University of Hawai?i ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) telescope on Mauna Loa captured images on February 8, 2018 of the Tesla Roadster launched into space as part of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy test.

Press Release


January 31, 2018: Natural Telescope Sets New Magnification Record

Extremely distant galaxies are usually too faint to be seen, even by the largest telescopes. But nature has a solution - gravitational lensing, predicted by Albert Einstein and observed many times by astronomers. Now, an international team of astronomers led by Harald Ebeling from the University of Hawaii has discovered one of the most extreme instances of magnification by gravitational lensing.

Press Release


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