East Hawaii News

Hoku Ke’a to be Decommissioned

July 7, 2015, 9:43 AM HST
* Updated July 7, 9:57 AM
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Amidst recent controversy over the Thirty Meter Telescope and pressure from Governor David Ige to reduce the amount of telescope atop Mauna Kea, the University of Hawai’i at Hilo will follow in the footsteps of California Institute of Technology and decommission the Hoku Ke’a.

The process of decommissioning Hoku Ke’a, UH-Hilo’s Educational Telescope that was never operational, will begin in early 2016, according to university officials. During the process of decommissioning, the process outlined in the Office of Mauna Kea Management’s Comprehensive Management Plan will be followed.

University officials say the process is scheduled to be completed by 2018, which is after the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory’s scheduled decommission.

On June 1, Caltech announced its plans to end operations of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory after being in use for 29 years. The decommissioning process is slated to begin in September.

Both decommissions will add to the total number of telescopes that need to be removed, as outlined by Governor Ige on May 26 in his plan for improving the stewardship of Mauna Kea.

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In his plan, Governor Ige announced that a total reduction of at least 25 percent of all telescopes need to be removed by the time TMT is ready for operation.

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Following the removal of the Hoku Ke’a, no new observatory will be built on the site.

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