Current Events

Stop Addressing Science and Culture as if They Are Separate Concepts

By Keahi Warfield, President of Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, Inc. (PUEO) and Richard Ha, PUEO Board Member (orginally published in Star-Advertiser under title “Mauna Kea’s Future” June 28, 2017 with additions from Dan Ahuna) We were all so moved to watch the Polynesian Voyaging Society canoe Hōkūle‘a sail home from its amazing, three-year, educational Mālama Honua trip around the world. But that’s not the end, not of their journeys nor of other explorations and discoveries. There is so much more to learn, including from atop Maunakea, above the cloud line, where everything down below – Hilo, Kona, Waimea – falls away and you can peer into the universe. The telescopes are of great value. Through them, we look back in time just as the Kumulipo (Hawaiian creation chant) takes us back to darkness. Instead of the telescopes being Maunakea’s focal point, though, let’s create a cultural center there above the clouds – a center truly devoted to Hawaiians and our culture, one with Hawaiian architecture, values and tradition built into the design by cultural practitioners. It will honor the vastness of the Hawaiian culture in a way we aren’t currently doing. Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim calls this idea of a “World Park” upon Maunakea a “living museum of the people of the First Nation of Hawai‘i” and “an opportunity for Hawai‘i to be the center of discovery of mankind and of the universe.” Governor David Ige also supports this idea. The number of visitors to Maunakea keeps increasing each year, and by not providing a place that truly respects and shares our indigenous knowledge to educate, we are... read more

Making Progress at Palekai

Last Saturday we had another work day down at Palekai.  The Hokualaka‘i’s mast got a good sanding and a coat of sealer.  The paddling canoes got some needed attention and some new storage racks were setup in the container. It was also a good chance to see the Hikianalia, the sister ship to the Hokulea.  They were moored in Palekai to pick up previsions and ready the crew for a 2600 mile journey to Tahiti to take some repair supplies to Hokulea before they make their last leg back home completing their world circumnavigation in Hawaii.  They were happy to give short tours of the canoe as they made preparations to depart on the 26th.  You can follow their journey here:  http://www.hokulea.com/vessels/hikianalia/ Having the Hikianalia in the bay inspired all of us to keep working on the Hokualaka‘i’ and get her back in the water this year!    ... read more

Keahi Warfield’s Testimony in the TMT Contested Case Hearing

On February 15th, 2017, Keahi took the stand to explain the story of PUEO, his struggle to educate himself and his mission to help kids find a positive and successful future for themselves.  He also explains how Hawaiians will benefit in the short term and long term by the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.  His powerful story explaining his reasons for supporting the telescope is a message that everyone should hear before they rush to judge the TMT project. Video is courtesy of Na Leo TV.... read more

“Sea to Sky Event” – Rebuilding Hōkūalaka’i – Sept. 24

A free youth event called “Sea to Sky” will be held this weekend.  This event is designed to bring different aspects of our island together with the common purpose of rebuilding the voyaging canoe, Hōkūalaka’i.  The Hōkūalaka’i will be used for teaching purposes on Hawaiʻi Island and beyond. Hōkūalakaʻi’s home is in the same location (Palekai) that the historic Hōkūleʻa departed from on its world wide voyage. This will be the first of many “Sea to Sky” events at Palekai in Hilo.  It will be an all day event with something for everyone to enjoy.  We have invited many members of the scientific field to have fun educational learning stations available for kids and all participants will be hosted with great food and activities. The focus of the monthly events are structured to: Unite community in helping to restore the voyaging canoe, Hōkūalaka’i. Promote indigenous knowledge in science programs Increase cultural relevance Create opportunities to pursue careers in science and culture education fields The schedule for the September 24th will be: 8:00-8:30am Informal meet, setup and discuss days activities and work planned for the canoe. 8:45-9:30am ‘awa ceremony and welcome 9:30-11:30am Work on Hōkūalakaʻi, Visit Learning Stations, and Site Beautification Project 11:30-12:30pm Lunch 1:00-4:30 Paddling, Sailing, Swimming (Ocean Activities) 4:30-5:00 Closing talk and cleanup We will have “Learning Stations” and a variety of organizations joining us each week. Come down to Palekai and join in the community effort to restore Hōkūalakaʻi and help our youth learn about the science and culture that is happening on the Big Island. If you would like to setup a booth to help educate... read more

Gemini Portable Planetarium

PUEO and Gemini’s StarLab The first of sevearal events with Gemini took place last week when Alexis Ann Acohido and Janice Harvey from the Gemini Telescope came to the RISE building in Keaukaha and they brought the entire universe along with them for show and tell.  Using a unique inflatable planetarium they quickly inflated their portable universe.   Once it is fully inflated the inside becomes a giant projection screen where the planetarium show takes place.  Gemini has a wide range of material for all different ages ranging from 8 to 18 years old.  Some of what they cover includes: The planets in the Solar System and our place in the universe Patterns of daily celestial motions and orbiting bodies The sequence of Moon phases and the apparent changes in the Sunʻs path through the seasons The lives of stars and the history of constellations in the context of world culture Astronomy and its importance to Hawaiians for navigation across the Pacific Follow this link to learn more about their program. The best thing about this is you can learn how to operate this planetarium and borrow it, for free along with free training, and put on your own shows for kids and have a star party. The material is easy to use and covers a wide range of subjects.  They all had a great time!  ... read more

News From The Mountain

Hikianalia and Hokulea Arrived In Tahiti and Coming Home Soon!

The Hikianalia departed Hilo March 26th (shown in photo) with one of PUEO’s founders and Keaukaha Community leader Uncle Pat Kahawaiola’a blessing their departure.  Their goal was to meet up with Hōkūleʻa and bring them some materials for repairs before they had back to Hawaii. They arrived safely in Tahiti following the stars and waves to join up with Hōkūleʻa on their round the world trip to bring them some repair materials and accompany them on the final legs of the voyage back home.  After sailing about 100 miles from Papeete, Tahiti, the canoes arrived at Taputapuatea on the morning of April 25, 2017 following the historic protocol of entering via the sacred pass of Teava Moa.  You can follow Hikianalia’s activities here: http://www.hokulea.com/crew-blog-kalepa-baybayan-follow-wind/ and Hokulea’s here http://www.hokulea.com/blog/ The should be back in Hawaii in June!... read more

Mars Simulation Ends after 1 Year on Mauna Loa

By TOM CALLIS Hawaii Tribune-Herald Six scientists will become the first to complete a yearlong Mars simulation in the United States when they exit a small dome Aug. 28 on Mauna Loa. For nearly 365 days, the crew has seen the outside world only through a small porthole or through the lens of their spacesuits, which they must wear to venture outside. At 8,200 feet above sea level, the landscape mimics Martian soil somewhat, with hardly any vegetation to be found. “They’re doing OK as far as we can tell,” said Kim Binsted, principal investigator for the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation. The University of Hawaii runs the NASA-funded study. Three other simulations have been held in the dome, located in a former quarry, for four- and eight-month durations. Each scientist works on research projects during their stay and learns how to manage limited resources while avoiding personal conflicts in isolation. Any communication with the outside world is put on a 20-minute delay, the length of time it would take to relay messages to and from the red planet. Binsted said the only longer simulation held was a 520-day mission in Russia that mimicked a trip to Mars. HI-SEAS is more focused on what a crew will do once they get there. The crew will be provided fresh fruit and other food not available during the simulation after they leave the dome. “They are clamoring to get into the ocean,” Binsted said. “I think they will enjoy having a beer as well.” Binsted said HI-SEAS will host two more eight-month simulations, with the next one starting in January.... read more

Maunakea Skies: Future of UH Hilo Astronomy Program Talk Aug 19th

[source] University of Hawai‘i at Hilo astronomy majors will receive more hands-on telescope time than ever before as the result of a recent agreement between the Institute for Astronomy at UH Mānoa and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UH Hilo. These students have a unique opportunity afforded to few other programs in the country—the opportunity to study the universe in the world’s largest observatories for optical, infrared and submillimeter astronomy on the 13,000-foot-high summit of Maunakea. Dr. Marianne Takamiya, associate professor of astronomy and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UH Hilo will present an update on these and other developments in UH Hilo’s astronomy program at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s Maunakea Skies talk on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center photo. “I will present the latest results of the research of faculty and students in astronomy, how our academic program has developed in the last five years and what we envision for the future,” stated Takamiya. “UH Hilo has unique elements that can make ours a novel astronomy program that produces not only astronomers, but also skilled professionals who are able to work in complex systems.” ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center photo. Takamiya, who is an expert in physical properties of material between stars in distant galaxies, has presented throughout the US, Chile, Japan, South Africa and Europe on research she has accomplished using the Maunakea telescopes while heavily involving undergraduate students. Takamiya is a graduate of Universidad de Chile and the University of Chicago, where she received her doctoral degree in astronomy and astrophysics. She was one of the first Gemini Science Fellows at Gemini North during... read more

Gemini Telescope finds Jupiter Moon Io’s Atmosphere Collapses and Reforms

Gemini observations show that the thin atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Io undergoes dramatic changes during frequent eclipses with the giant planet. The following press release, issued by the Southwest Research Institute, explains how the dramatic changes in temperature cause the moon’s atmosphere to collapse. Research reveals freezing effects of Jupiter’s shadow on moon’s volcanic gases San Antonio – Aug. 2, 2016 – A Southwest Research Institute-led team has documented atmospheric changes on Io, Jupiter’s volcanically active satellite, as the giant planet casts its shadow over the moon’s surface during daily eclipses. A study led by SwRI’s Constantine Tsang concluded that Io’s thin atmosphere, which consists primarily of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emitted from volcanoes, collapses as the SO2 freezes onto the surface as ice when Io is shaded by Jupiter. When the moon moves out of eclipse and ice warms, the atmosphere reforms through sublimation, where ice converts directly to gas. “This research is the first time scientists have observed this phenomenon directly, improving our understanding of this geologically active moon,” said Tsang, a senior research scientist in SwRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division. The findings were published in a study titled “The Collapse of Io’s Primary Atmosphere in Jupiter Eclipse” in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The team used the eight-meter Gemini North telescope in Hawai’i with the Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectrograph (TEXES) for this research. Data showed that Io’s atmosphere begins to “deflate” when the temperatures drop from -235 degrees Fahrenheit (-148 ℃) in sunlight to -270 degrees Fahrenheit (-168 ℃) during eclipse. Eclipse occurs 2 hours of every Io day (1.7 Earth days). In full... read more

The Science Behind Hawaii’s ‘Smiley Face’ Volcano

[source] A “smiling” volcano has gone viral. Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been actively erupting since 1983, and it’s one of the most active volcanoes in the world, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). But the volcano received more attention recently when the volcano’s lava formed what looks like a smiley face. The smiley face appeared in a lava lake crater on the west flank of Pu’u ‘O’o, on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone, according to Janet Babb, a geologist with the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. [Explosive Images: Hawaii’s Kilauea Erupts for 30 Years] Pu’u ‘O’o also recently made headlines when the lava flow reached the ocean for the first time in three years. While it may seem like Kilauea was smiling for the cameras, the “face” has a more scientific explanation: The bright spots and incandescent line that created the face shape were produced by normal volcanic activity. As a lava lake circulates, lava upwelling and downwelling will occur on opposite sides of the lake, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. This often results in a spattering of molten lava, which creates bright spots on the dark-colored, semi-solid lake surface. Circulation can also cause sections of the surface to pull apart, revealing the lava beneath and creating lines. By chance, these processes occurred in a pattern that created the smiling image, Babb said. “The Pu’u ‘O’o lava lake just happened to produce two spattering sources (bright dots) that have been interpreted as ‘eyes’ and an incandescent line that has been interpreted as a ‘mouth’ — with the two lake surface features located relative to each other to produce the... read more