January 7, 2022
Milky Way illustration

MKOs Combine to Observe the Ruins of an Ancient Star Cluster

Astronomers have found the ruins of an ancient globular cluster in the outskirts of the Milky Way. Using the Canada-France-Hawaii and Gemini North telescopes on Maunakea, in conjunction with the Gaia satellite, they showed that the motions and compositions of stars in an outer-galaxy “stream” mean that it must have originated as a globular star cluster. In fact, this stream […]
July 27, 2021
A collapsing star that is producing two short gamma-ray jets

Gemini North Identifies the Surprising Cause of a “Fizzled” Gamma-Ray Burst

Astronomers using the Event Horizon Telescope (of which two Maunakea observatories are a part) have zoomed into Astronomers have discovered the shortest-ever gamma-ray burst (GRB) caused by the implosion of a massive star. Using the Gemini North telescope on Maunakea, astronomers identified the cause of this 0.6-second flurry of gamma rays as a supernova explosion in a distant galaxy. GRBs […]
March 1, 2021

Farfarout is Indeed Far, Far Out

Thanks to observations with the Subaru and Gemini North telescopes both on Hawaii’s Maunakea, astronomers have confirmed that a faint object discovered in 2018 and nicknamed “Farfarout” is indeed the most distant object yet found in our Solar System. Farfarout was first spotted in January 2018 by the Subaru Telescope and the discoverers could tell it was very far away, […]
February 10, 2021

The Earliest Supermassive Black Hole and Quasar in the Universe

Three Maunakea Observatories, the Gemini, W.M. Keck, and UKIRT observatories have announced the discovery of the most distant known quasar. The quasar, observed just 670 million years after the Big Bang, is 1,000 times brighter than the Milky Way Galaxy. It is powered by the earliest known supermassive black hole, which weighs in at more than 1.6 billion times the […]
December 8, 2020

Blast from the Past!

The enigmatic star CK Vulpeculae, first seen as a bright new star in 1670, was lost for over three centuries. The star was then re-discovered 40 years ago via its surrounding nebular debris, and found to be far more distant than previously thought. This means that the explosive event 350 years ago that caused it to brighten and eject the […]
November 18, 2020

Two Maunakea Telescopes Confirm First Brown Dwarf Discovered by Radio Observations

For the first time, astronomers have combined observations from a large radio telescope (known as LOFAR) in Europe and two telescopes on Maunakea – the IRTF and Gemini – to discover and investigate a cold brown dwarf, or failed star. This is the first such object to be discovered through radio observations — until now, brown dwarfs have always been […]
September 17, 2020

A White Dwarf’s Surprise Planetary Companion

Foretelling one possible (distant!) future for our own Solar System, a giant exoplanet has been discovered orbiting close to a white dwarf star. This discovery shows that it is possible for Jupiter-sized planets to survive their star’s demise and settle into close orbits around the remaining stellar ember, near the habitable zone. Read more, in the Gemini Observatory press release.
August 28, 2020

Rare Encounters Between Cosmic Heavyweights

A combination of three Maunakea observatories (Keck, Subaru and Gemini) has been used by a team of Astronomers to discover several pairs of merging galaxies. In our dynamically evolving Universe, galaxies experience collisions and mergers with other neighbouring galaxies. These rare events can be dramatic, causing the birth of new stars and the rapid feeding of the supermassive black holes […]
August 27, 2020

Gemini Captures a Dizzying Display from Comet NEOWISE

When Comet NEOWISE sped through the inner Solar System in recent months, scientists and the public alike watched in awe as this “icy dirtball” shed gas and dust into space, producing a striking show visible to the naked eye. A team of astronomers has now used the Gemini Observatory on Maunakea to show the gas and dust being hurled from […]
July 29, 2020

Maunakea Observatories’ Quick Reflexes Capture Fleeting Flash

Astronomers have discovered the second-most distant confirmed short gamma-ray burst (SGRB) ever studied using two Maunakea Observatories in Hawaiʻi – W. M. Keck Observatory and the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. Observations confirm the object’s distance at 10 billion light-years away, placing it squarely in the epoch of cosmic high noon when the Universe was in its […]
June 25, 2020

Pōniuāʻena – A Quasar with a Monster Black Hole in the Early Universe

Using the UKIRT, Gemini North and Keck telescopes on Maunakea, and combining with observations from observatories in Chile (including Gemini South and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory), astronomers have identified a quasar in the distant Universe, which is powered by a black hole about one and a half billion times as massive as our Sun. This quasar, the second most distant […]
May 19, 2020

Gemini Gets Lucky and Takes a Deep Dive Into Jupiter’s Clouds

Researchers using the Gemini North Telescope, in combination with the Hubble Space Telescope and observations from the Juno probe at Jupiter itself, have collected some of the sharpest images of Jupiter ever obtained from the ground. Their observations revealed that dark spots in the famous Great Red Spot are actually gaps in the cloud cover and are not due to […]