Caltech Telescope Removed from Maunakea; Deconstruction to Begin
Earlier this month, the 34-foot diameter telescope was removed from the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory dome on Maunakea.
“After much logistical planning, we successfully removed the telescope from the observatory building, allowing deconstruction of the buildings to begin,” Caltech physics professor and Caltech Submillimeter Observatory Director Sunil Golwala said.
“The telescope is being packed for shipment to Chile, where we anticipate it will continue to contribute to the field of astronomy.”
Deconstruction of the site infrastructure will start September 25 and will continue next year after a break for winter weather.
“This fall, demolition of the interior of the observatory building will begin and the cesspool will be pumped out,” said Golwala.
Next spring and summer, above-ground structures and below-ground infrastructure will be removed and site restoration will occur.
“In accordance with the permits guiding the decommissioning, cultural, construction and archeological monitors have been and will be present at all appropriate phases,” said Golwala.
A cultural monitor conducted an orientation for the telescope removal teams and will do one for the deconstruction teams prior to their arrival on site. In late August, a blessing was performed at the site to mark the decommissioning, with representatives of Caltech and Center for Maunakea Stewardship in attendance.
The cost of deconstruction and site restoration is expected to exceed $4 million and is being funded primarily by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, while the removal of the telescope for reuse is being funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.