Instructors Asking for Feedback on Maunakea Teaching Telescope Plan

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The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo wants to know what the public thinks of its telescope plan.

The school is proposing to locate its 28-inch educational telescope at Halepōhaku, the mid-level facility on Maunakea. A draft environmental assessment is available for public review and comment.

This artist rendering shows the proposed teaching telescope. PC: UH Hilo

The proposed project includes a 14-foot high, 18-foot diameter dome that will house the teaching telescope. The dome will be placed on a yet to be constructed wooden deck that will connect to an existing building at Halepōhaku.

The DEA for the UH Hilo teaching telescope anticipates a finding of no significant impact. The deadline to provide comments on the DEA is Oct. 24.


“We hope our local community takes some time to learn more about the teaching telescope and how it will benefit not only UH Hilo students, but the entire island,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin. “I am especially excited for the programming ideas that we have for the community at large to utilize the telescope.”

A DEA is required by the Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources for astronomy facilities placed within the state conservation district, and it is triggered by the use of state land and funds, UH Hilo stated in a news release.

The public can learn more about the project at an open house on the UH Hilo campus on the first floor of the Science and Technology Building from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5.


The former site of the UH Hilo teaching telescope on the summit of Maunakea is now undergoing decommissioning that is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

When the university submitted a Notice to Proceed in 2016 to decommission the site, more than a dozen community members testified before the Maunakea Management Board (MKMB) and complained about removing the only teaching telescope on the mauna. MKMB ultimately accepted the Notice of Intent in 2021 when the plan to locate the teaching telescope at Halepōhaku was included in the decommissioning plan.

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