East Hawaii News

Kamaaina Observatory Experience Planned for Mauna Kea

October 19, 2015, 5:59 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 6:06 PM
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Mauna Kea Observatories and the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will work together to conduct a monthly community event, Kamaaina Observatory Experience, which is expected to begin in early 2016.

Hawai’i residents will be invited to the science reserve on Mauna Kea to see telescopes and learn about the cultural and environmental importance of the mountain.

The announcement of the new program came during President Barack Obama’s speech during White House Astronomy Night in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday’s event at the South Lawn of the White House, brought together scientists, engineers, and various individuals from the astronomy and space industry.

“We were honored to represent Hawai’i’s tremendous contributions to the world of astronomy, education, and culture on the White House lawn tonight,” said Ka’iu Kimura, executive director of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. “As part of Imiloa’s partnership with the Maunakea Observatories, we look forward to sharing these contributions with even more of our friends and ohana at home in Hawai’i through the Kamaaina Observatory Experience.”

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Those participating in the free program will be transported to and from the summit and the Visitor Information Station. The program will include a cultural briefing, a one-hour safety and environmental briefing at Hale Pohaku, and a one-and-a-half hour visit to two of the Mauna Kea observatories.

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“The Kamaaina Observatory Experience will be the first program of its kind in the 50-year history of astronomy on Maunakea,” said Doug Simons, executive director of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). “The Maunakea Observatories make Hawai’i one of the most respected sites on earth for astronomical discovery. It is our sincere hope that this program will inspire a passion among kamaaina for astronomy and an appreciation for the cultural and environmental future of Maunakea.”

Participants must be 16 or older and have a valid Hawai’i ID. Registration will be required and will be available on a first come, first served basis.

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