East Hawaii News

Maunakea Observatories Launch New Program in Partnership with DOE

February 25, 2016, 4:58 PM HST
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Summit of Mauna Kea. Univesity of Hawai'i photo.

Summit of Mauna Kea. Univesity of Hawai’i photo.

Maunakea Scholars, a new programs being launched by the Maunakea Observatories, was announced on Thursday.

The program is designed to put young aspiring astronomers in the observatory community and allocate observing time within telescopes to students.

Maunakea Observatories say it is the first program of its kind in the world.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to help kids take their education to the next level using the incredible scientific tools of the Maunakea Observatories,” said Mary Beth Laychak, outreach program manager at Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope. “We hope we can help inspire even more local students to pursue careers in STEM fields and become the next wave of scientists, engineers, and technicians for these telescopes.”

The students will have the opportunity to work with astronomy mentors to design proposals for telescope time with CFHT.

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Kapolei High School will have the first round of telescope time on March 2, allocated by CFHT director Doug Simons and Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawai’i Department of Education superintendent.

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“Maunakea Scholars is an example of the game-changing partnerships that enrich our classrooms and inspire our kids to do great things,” said Matayoshi. “These students will have unparalleled research opportunities using some of the world’s greatest scientific instruments, and there’s no telling what amazing discoveries they will achieve.”

CFHT and Gemini International Observatory initiated the program with a partnership between the Maunakea Observatories and the DOE.

Students from Waiakea High School are also on the list of program participants in its inaugural year.

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Once telescope time has been awarded, the students will have the opportunity to visit the telescopes at the science reserve on Mauna Kea for an in-depth look at the science and technology taking place.

The students will also visit CFHT’s Waimea headquarters for a night of remote observing in the telescope control room, watching data stream live from the summit to computer systems in Waimea, according to program officials.

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