June 16, 2021

We are normal

“We are normal!” - After thirty years of observational work, largely from Maunakea, astronomers reveal that the gas giant planets in many other solar systems lie at about the same distance from their stars as Jupiter does in our own solar system.
September 14, 2020

JCMT finds hints of life on Venus

JCMT finds hints of life on Venus Press Release The Science Explained FAQs An international team of researchers using the JCMT in Hawaii have discovered the biomarker phosphine in the cloud of Venus. Follow up observations from ALMA confirmed the detection of phosphine in the mid-latitude cloud decks on Venus, where pressures and temperatures are more conducive to life on […]
September 14, 2020

The Science Explained

JCMT finds hints of life on Venus Press Release The Science Explained FAQs Phosphine is an example of a “biomarker”: a molecule that may indicate the presence of life. On the Earth, phosphine is only known to be produced by industrial processes or by microbial life that thrives in oxygen-free environments. Recently, phosphine has been detected in the atmosphere of […]
September 14, 2020

FAQ

JCMT finds hints of life on Venus Press Release The Science Explained FAQs What has been discovered? A molecule called phosphine has been detected in the atmosphere of Venus. Why is it interesting? The amount of phosphine that has been detected is relatively large. On Earth, phosphine can result from natural processes such as lightning and volcanic activity, but only […]
May 12, 2020

Maunakea Observatories Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

Maunakea Observatories prepares for phased reopening    The Maunakea Observatories are resuming operations, after nearly two months of suspended nightly science observations. This action follows Governor Ige’s 7th Supplementary Emergency Proclamation authorizing low-risk businesses to reopen, including the Observatories and support facilities.  The phased approach will restrict summit work to maximize social distancing and emphasize important hygiene practices. As always, the health and safety of […]
September 27, 2019

Exoplanets Can’t Hide Their Secrets from Innovative New Instrument

The discovery of planets orbiting other stars has changed the view of our place in the Universe. Space missions like NASA’s Kepler/K2 Space Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have revealed that there are twice as many planets orbiting stars in the sky than there are stars visible to the unaided eyes. While these telescopes identify exoplanets by […]
September 26, 2019

In Memory of Barry Taniguchi: A Community Leader and Friend of Science, Education and Hawaii’s Keiki

The Maunakea Observatories wish to convey their heartfelt sorrow for the loss of a treasured member of our Hawai‘i Island community with the recent passing of Barry Taniguchi. His warm personality, generosity to a broad cross-section of our community, and steadfast leadership will be missed.  Barry was always a strong advocate of astronomy and the Maunakea Observatories will always be […]
August 15, 2019

Total Annihilation for Supermassive Stars

Gemini Observatory captures critical data on an exotic stellar explosion that’s challenging astronomers to rethink how the most massive stars end their lives. A renegade exploding star (known as SN 2016iet) focuses on a new breed of supernova that can utterly annihilate its parent star — leaving no remnant behind. This signature event is something astronomers had never witnessed before, […]
August 12, 2019

Earth is Safe! Critical Maunakea Observations of Asteroid’s Near Earth Passage

The Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) on Maunakea is protecting the Earth by monitoring asteroids that enter Earth’s neighbourhood. On their first night back after resuming operations, CFHT observed the near-Earth asteroid 2006QV89. This asteroid was first discovered back in 2006, but it wasn’t until this summer that it was visible from Earth again. Much in the same way that […]
August 9, 2019

Existing Maunakea Telescopes Announce Return to Work

HILO, HI- After a four-week suspension of work at the summit of Maunakea, the existing telescopes will attempt a return to operations. “The Maunakea Observatories represent an invaluable sector for Hawai’i Island and our entire State – the economic impact, intellectual capital, educational resources and community support they provide is irreplaceable,” said Governor David Ige, State of Hawai’i. “The interim solution for access […]
August 8, 2019

Astronomers to Deploy Breakthrough Technology at UH Telescope

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.1 million grant to a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) scientist to install a high-tech shape-shifting secondary mirror on the UH 2.2-meter telescope on Maunakea, bringing new life to the oldest telescope on the mountain. Astronomers use flexible mirrors to compensate for the blurring caused by our ever-moving atmosphere, […]
August 1, 2019

Subaru Telescope Probes the Outer Reaches of our Milky Way Galaxy

A team of astronomers using the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea have charted the outermost edge of our Milky Way Galaxy. The team selected two very specific types of stars that are bright enough to be observed at such extreme distances, and then measured distances to hundreds of them. They discovered that beyond about half a million light years from the […]