Mauna Kea Skies: UKIRT with Dr. Green

May 13, 2015, 6:31 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 6:27 PM
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‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s next Mauna Kea Skies program is scheduled for Friday, May 15 at 7 p.m. This month’s program will feature Dr. Richard Green, Director of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope.

Dr. Green will discuss UKIRT’s contributions to ground based infrared observations in his talk, titled “UKIRT: Recent Discoveries and Future Promise + The International Year of Light.” Among the topics that will be discussed are the latest results of the most distant quasars, how galaxies evolve over cosmic time, and the ways that clouds of cold gas fragment and condense into clusters of newly formed stars.

Astronomers in the UK realized the potential of the UKIRT when they noticed the telescope was sensitive to infrared radiation. In the 1990’s, a major refurbishment of the telescope took place, and ten years ago it received a unique panoramic camera. These improvements have led the facility to survey the infrared sky to power an outpouring of scientific discovery.

UKIRT went under new management in November 2014 and has continued to observe the most distant galaxies and quasars, along with nearby stellar nurseries. UKIRT is also used to characterize objects right next door, like orbital space debris and asteroids that come in close proximity to the earth.

This year has been declared the International Year of Light by the United Nations. Throughout the year, astronomers are participating to emphasize two aspect of light: cosmic light, which provides our key to the universe beyond our planet, and quality light, the control of our nighttime lighting to save energy, preserve the biosphere, and protect the observatories from blinding glare.


A 1971 graduate of Harvard College, Dr. Green went on to graduate school at CalTech for astronomy. He is currently serving as the Director of UKIRT Observatory on the Big Island. Dr. Green became a staff astronomer at Kitt Peak in 1983 before moving into management of the National Observatories in 1992. From 1997 to 2005, he was the Director of Kitt Peak National Observatory before being appointed as the Director of the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory at the University of Arizona until 2013.


Major research interests of Dr. Green include quasars and the early Universe, the cosmic history of chemical element abundances, dynamics of the nuclei of galaxies, and the end stages of stellar evolution.

Cam Wipper, ‘Imiloa planetarium staff member, will host the Mauna Kea Skies program. He will provide observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai’i, and along the way, will point out prominent constellations and stars.

Cost for the event is $8 for individuals, dual, kupuna, and family members; $6 for patron members; and free for silver, gold, and corporate members. Non-member rate is $10.


Tickets can be pre-purchased at the ‘Imiloa front desk or by calling 969-9703.

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