the latest news from the maunakea observatories

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July 11, 2023
Color image of a UNIONS field

Hawai’i Observatories Adding Color to the Euclid Space Mission 

The Euclid mission plans to observe billions of galaxies across more than a third of the sky, building a 3D map of the Universe. By observing more than one-third of the observable sky outside the Milky Way, Euclid will image billions of targets out to a distance of ten billion light years. Astronomers estimate the distances to these galaxies – […]
July 5, 2023
Artist's rendition of the possible scenario

Discovery of Death Defying Planet 

Astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (UH IfA) have made the remarkable discovery of a planet’s survival after what should have been certain doom at the hands of its sun. The Jupiter-like planet, known as  8 UMi b, but officially named Halla, orbits the red giant star Baekdu (8 UMi) at only half the distance separating the […]
June 13, 2023
Image of Supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy

Gemini North Back On Sky With Dazzling Image of Supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy 

Gemini North, part of the International Gemini Observatory operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, is back to observing the night sky following an accident with its primary mirror in late 2022. The telescope’s debut observation captured the supernova dubbed SN 2023ixf, which was discovered on 19 May 2023 by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki. This dazzling point of light, the closest supernova seen […]
April 6, 2023
Artist’s Impression of a Pair of Quasars at ‘Cosmic Noon’

Colliding Quasars Set to Trigger Energetic Star Formation 

Astronomers using the Gemini North and Keck telescopes, on Maunakea, have discovered two Quasars that are on the verge of merging to produce a giant elliptical galaxy. These quasars are thought to have formed when the Universe was a mere 3 billion years old. Seeing two such quasars in the process of merging is rare, let alone catching them in […]
January 4, 2023

Surprise Kilonova Explosion Upends our Understanding of Gamma-ray Bursts

Fillowup observations of an explosive collision involving neutron stars by two Maunakea observatories reveals that a so-called “long gamma-ray burst” (originally detected from an observatory in Earth orbit) upends our understanding of the origin of these extraordinary events. Read more, in the W.M.Keck Observatory and International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab press releases.
November 14, 2022

Two Maunakea Observatories Find the Closest Black Hole to Earth

Using two Maunakea Observatories to follow up a star’s tiny wobbling motion detected by the orbiting Gaia satellite, astronomers have located the nearest black hole to the Sun. At 1600 light years, Gaia BH1, a companion to a Sun-like star, is some three times closer than the previous record holder, and appears to pose some interesting challenges for our understanding […]
October 19, 2022

The First Full 3-D View of a Binary Star-Planet System

Combining the signal from the VLBA dish on Maunakea with identical dishes across and beyond the continental US, astronomers have created the first ever three-dimensional view of the orbit of a Jupiter-like planet in a binary star system. Read more and see a video of the orbit, in the VLBA press release.
September 16, 2022
A conceptual rendering of the discovery

Discovery of a Temperate “Super-Earth” in the Habitable Zone Around a Nearby Star

Using the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea and the Faulkes telescope on Haleakalā, observers have discovered two temperate, rocky planets a little larger than our own Earth, and both orbiting a faint red star just 100 light years from us. One of the two lies in the star’s “habitable zone” and so could have liquid water on its surface. Read more, […]
September 12, 2022
Artistic rendition of the exoplanet TOI-1452 b

CFHT Detects a Probable Ocean World

Astronomers using the Canada-France Hawaii telescope have identified a probable “Ocean World”  among the candidates found by NASA’s TESS satellite. Measuring the minute wobble of the planet’s host star, they found that planet is much less dense than a rocky body like Earth. The planet is also far enough from its star that water can exist as liquid, so this […]