Maunakea Scholars – Hawai‘i’s Future Astronomers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maunakea Scholars – Hawai‘i’s Future Astronomers

If you had the unique chance to look through one of the world’s most powerful telescopes, what would you look at? Two lucky, ambitious students from Nanakuli High School and Kapolei High School have been invited to operate the world’s most advanced telescopes atop Maunakea, where they will experience a perspective of this world that no student their age could even fathom.

Amber Nakata, a Nanakuli junior, was awarded 1.5 hours of observing time spread over 3 separate observing runs spanning 6-9 months with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope to monitor SS-433 using the instrument ESPaDOnS for her proposal "Eclipsing X-Ray Binary System."

Emily Little, a Kapolei senior, was awarded 1 hour of observing time with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope using the instrument ESPaDOnS for her proposal "The Source of Earth's Water."

A large proponent for STEM education, the Maunakea Scholars Program aims to offer a unique opportunity to Hawai‘i’s students, helping guide them on their scholastic journeys and inspiring them to engage with these amazing telescopic tools through a program that exists nowhere else in the world. The students submitted professional-style research proposals to the time allotment committee, who selected the proposals based on viability, creativity, and scientific merit.

The Maunakea Observatories are a collaborative of independent institutions with telescopes located on Maunakea on the island of Hawai‘i. Together, the Observatories make Maunakea the most scientifically productive site for astronomy world-wide. The Maunakea Observatories include: Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope, Gemini International Observatory, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (EAO), NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, Subaru Telescope, Submillimeter Array, United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, University of Hawai'i Hilo Educational Telescope, University of Hawai‘i 2.2 Meter Telescope, Very Long Baseline Array and W. M. Keck Observatory (Keck I and Keck II).

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