August 20, 2020

Citizen Scientists Help Locate Some of the Coolest Brown Dwarfs Ever Discovered

Astronomers using the W. M. Keck Telescope on Maunakea teamed up with a group of citizen scientists, aided by decades of astronomical catalogs from NSF’s NOIRLab Astro Data Lab, to discover nearly 100 new brown dwarfs. These fascinating objects are more massive than planets, but lighter than stars. Brown dwarfs are sometimes referred to as failed stars, as they lack […]
August 7, 2020

Record-breaking Galaxy Provides New Hints About the Early Stages of Our Universe

Astronomers have used the combination of two powerful Maunakea telescopes (Subaru and Keck) to discover a nearby galaxy that has broken the record for having the lowest level of oxygen ever seen. In astronomy, elements heavier than hydrogen and helium (the two main elements created in the Big Bang) are called “metals”, and the earliest galaxies are expected to have […]
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 1, 2020

Super-Jupiter Discovered in Kepler-88 System

A team of astronomers using the Keck Observatory on Maunakea have discovered a planet three times the mass of Jupiter in a distant planetary system. This new planet, named Kepler-88 d, is the most massive planet in the Kepler-88 system, and takes 4 years to orbit around its central star. The astronomers show that, analogous to the role Jupiter plays […]
February 13, 2020

Astronomers Study the Formation of “Failed Stars”

A team of astronomers has used the Keck and Subaru telescopes on Maunakea to gain new insight into the processes of star and planet formation. They observed 27 star systems with planet-scale objects in orbit around them, by using specialized techniques to separate the light from the parent star and the much-dimmer orbiting objects. Some of the orbiters were giant […]
February 3, 2020

Astronomers Discover Strange Objects Near Our Galaxy’s Central Black Hole

Astronomers have discovered a new class of objects at the center of our Galaxy using the Keck Observatory on Maunakea. By combining 13 years of data (part of a project known as the Galactic Center Orbits Initiative), they identified four new objects that look like gas but behave like stars. This new class of objects, called G objects, appear compact […]
January 16, 2020

Astronomers Discover Distant Galaxies Driving an Ancient Cosmic Makeover of the Early Universe

An international team of astronomers has used the Keck Observatory on Maunakea to identify the most distant group of galaxies identified in the Universe to date. This trio of galaxies (called EGS77) are participating in a sweeping cosmic makeover called reionization. The reionization era dates back to a time when the universe was only 680 million years old (less than […]
November 26, 2019

Water Vapor Discovered on One of Jupiter’s Moons

An international team of astronomers have used the Keck telescopes on Maunakea to detect water vapor for the first time above the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter’s 79 moons. Over the past 40 years, many missions have been sent to the outer solar system to study this moon, including the Voyager spacecraft, which took the first closeup images of […]
October 8, 2019

Massive Filaments Fuel the Growth of Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes

An international group of scientists has used observations from the Subaru and Keck telescopes on Maunakea to observe enormous filaments of gas in the early Universe, extending over more than 3 million light years. By focusing on a massive cluster of galaxies located about 12 billion light years away in the constellation of Aquarius, the scientists were able to create […]