Astronomy institute celebrates 50 years of research, discoveries

Astronomy institute celebrates 50 years of research, discoveries
Mauna Kea (Image: Jason Chu)
Mauna Kea (Image: Jason Chu)

HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Jolanie Martinez
HNN News Intern

Students, faculty and alumni are celebrating 50 years of work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy.

The institute has two significant observatories -- on Mauna Kea and Haleakala.

"We think that we have essentially the two best sites, certainly in the Northern Hemisphere and perhaps in the whole world overall for doing astronomy," said associate director for the Institute for Astronomy Bob McLaren.

Known for being the most productive astronomy site in the world, the Mauna Kea observatories have played a big role in astronomical discoveries over the last five decades.

The Haleakala observatories is also known for being a leading source in asteroid and Near Earth Object detection.

Growing up, Native Hawaiian and UH Hilo assistant professor Heather Kaluna was never surrounded with outreach programs that the institute now offers. However, Kaluna who spoke at the celebration hopes that the programs will continue to educate and enrich those who aspire to pursue astronomy.

"It is my hope that IfA as they move forward continue to grow and strengthen these programs. They have the power to ensure our keiki have an awareness of the astronomical research taking place here in the islands."

Celebrations for the 50th anniversary are set for Thursday in Hilo and Friday on Maui.

For more information on upcoming IfA events, click here.

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