Current Events

PUEO/KOYD Event for Kids Sept. 24

Everyone is welcome to join us for a kids event on Sept. 24 at Palekai (breakwater) or Radio Bay in Hilo! The location is on the little road to the left after the cruise ship port and Aloha Petroleum along Kalanianaole Ave when heading away from downtown Hilo. Let your friends and family know!  We hope to see you there!... read more

Richard Ha Expresses PUEO’s Support for TMT

Yes, the state should allow TMT on Mauna Kea By Richard Ha (Editioral Published by Star Advertiser) September 7, 2016 Our group, Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities (PUEO), is made up of highly respected members of the Hawaiian community. We represent folks who believe our children are as competent as any in the world. We are about keiki education.  We are also about making sure our culture is not left behind as we move into the future. We can multitask. The Big Island has the lowest median family income, the highest rate of homelessness and the highest suicide rate. PUEO recognizes that education is the great equalizer. We believe through education, taking advantage of the resources around us and integrating our culture into what we learn, we can not only do better, we can lead the world. PUEO stepped up when we learned that Hokukea, the small University of Hawaii at Hilo teaching telescope, would go from Mauna Kea, the best viewing site in the world, down into Hilo, the rainiest city in the world.  Why? We also felt we needed to support astronomy in general and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in particular. That is why PUEO entered the contested-case hearing supporting the TMT, which has a track record of doing the right thing. The president of TMT, Henry Yang, is a humble man of the people, someone you can do business with on a handshake. Our people came from the south. Though they had not seen the northern skies, they used their knowledge of the stars and launched their canoes. Today, on Mauna Kea, we are in these... read more

PUEO Hosts Astronomy event with Gemini Telescope Staff

SEPTEMBER 7th 3-4 for kids and 4-5 for adults! PUEO is hosting an event for kids and adults. We still have space for 4-5 pm on the 7th for any adults (teachers, etc.) that would like to learn how to run the portable planetarium that you can borrow from Gemini. RSVP your spot for the 4-5 pm slot. We also might have some space for the kids show from 3-4, so contact us if you want to join in! You can also learn more about the program here: http://tinyurl.com/zsym78f    ... read more

Don’t close door to education benefits

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER The Associated Press HONOLULU (AP) — Building a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea will come with educational opportunities that Hawaii shouldn’t close the door to, the president of a Native Hawaiian group that supports the project said. Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities President Keahi Warfield told a Waikiki hotel banquet room filled with members of the Rotary Club of Honolulu Tuesday that he believes there’s a “silent majority” of the public who support the Thirty Meter Telescope. The $1.4 billion telescope has divided the Native Hawaiian community, with many opponents saying it will desecrate sacred land. The state Supreme Court invalidated the project’s permit last year and ordered a new contested case hearing. Warfield’s group, whose acronym PUEO means Hawaiian owl, is allowed to participate in the upcoming hearing. The nonprofit organization’s board consists of Native Hawaiian elders, Warfield said. “Many people have come forward to thank us for exposing a view that they were afraid to voice,” said a bullet point in a presentation Warfield showed the Rotary Club. Many don’t feel safe expressing support for the telescope, he said. Intense protests on the Big Island mountain prompted a halt in construction. Telescope officials have said they want a permit in place by the end of the year or early next year in order to resume construction in 2018. Meanwhile, telescope officials are looking for possible alternate sites in case it can’t be built in Hawaii. A young girl told Warfield she no longer wants to grow up to be a scientist because of the debate, which has pitted family members against each other, Warfield... read more

Sign Waving Success! Hearing Underway Today.

There was a crowd of over 50 people who showed their support for building the TMT yesterday in Hilo.  Each person had their own reasons from creating jobs to enthusiasm over scientific discoveries.  Richard Ha was there talking to people and there was a lot of friendly motorists who waved and honked in support.  Other PUEO leaders were busy with their educational programs and getting ready for today’s hearing that is getting underway at 10:00 am.  But they were there in spirit and more PEUO shirts were passed out.   Hearing Underway Today It’s great to see the community come out and support efforts to get the TMT built, but we also have a lot of work to do to make sure the educational opportunities stay here in Hawaii and that we can insure that Hawaiian cultural is a key part of that education. Today Judge Amano is going to start going through the motions filed from the 20 parties involved in the case hearing from 10am to 1 pm in the Hilo YMCA.  There are several motions filed against allowing PUEO to participate in the process and over 170 documents and filings in process.  For a full list of the filings visit the DLNR website and select the “Document Library”. Between the recent polling results of and responses to our sign waving event we are confident we are on the right track and doing what is best for our childrens’ and grand childrens’ futures.... read more

News From The Mountain

From atop Mauna Kea, UH scientists are finding exoplanets, boosting the chance of discovering alien life

[source] University of Hawaii astronomers were part of a globe-spanning team that recently announced the discovery of more than 100 new planets orbiting stars beyond our own solar system. These new exoplanets, confirmed in part through observations made from Hawaii-based telescopes, reveal an unprecedented range of diversity in the places and ways in which planets can form. And the study’s findings further raise the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial life. “One of my favorite quotes comes to mind, from Arthur C. Clarke,” said Evan Sinukoff, a co-author of the study and a graduate student at the UH Manoa Institute for Astronomy. “‘Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the universe or we are not — both are equally terrifying.’” This artist’s concept shows a crop of more than 100 planets, discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. Those planets include four in Earth’s size range orbiting a single dwarf star. NASA/JPL “We all know how easily fear can motivate people,” he laughed, then added, “What keeps me going into work every day is my desire for exploration and the notion that I’m contributing a chapter to a journey thousands of years in the making … and coffee.” The Flea And The Street Lamp To find these new planets, an international group of astronomers collaborated on a specific set of observations made with NASA’s orbiting Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009. Sinukoff said they started by taking measurements of more than 10,000 stars, in five different patches of the sky, each of which they monitored for three months. They looked for specific changes in a star’s brightness, potentially caused by an... read more

NASA Telescope on Maunakea finds Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Likely a Massive Heat Source

[source] New NASA-funded research suggests that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot may be the mysterious heat source behind Jupiter’s surprisingly high upper atmospheric temperatures. Here on Earth, sunlight heats the atmosphere at altitudes well above the surface—for example, at 250 miles above our planet where the International Space Station orbits. Scientists have been stumped as to why temperatures in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere are comparable to those found at Earth, yet Jupiter is more than five times the distance from the sun. They wanted to know: if the sun isn’t the heat source, then what is? Researchers from Boston University’s Center for Space Physics set out to solve the mystery by mapping temperatures well above Jupiter’s cloud tops using observations from Earth. They analyzed data from the SpeX spectrometer at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, a 3-meter infrared telescope operated for NASA by the University of Hawaii. By observing non-visible infrared light hundreds of miles above the gas giant, scientists found temperatures to be much higher in certain latitudes and longitudes in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, where the spot is located. “We could see almost immediately that our maximum temperatures at high altitudes were above the Great Red Spot far below—a weird coincidence or a major clue?” said Boston University’s James O’Donoghue, lead author of the study. The study, in the July 27 issue of the journal Nature, concludes that the storm in the Great Red Spot produces two kinds of turbulent energy waves that collide and heat the upper atmosphere. Gravity waves are much like how a guitar string moves when plucked, while acoustic waves are compressions... read more

Subaru Telescope Maunakea find new, ancient source of gravitational lensing with Student Help

[source NAOJ] Light from a distant galaxy can be strongly bent by the gravitational influence of a foreground galaxy. That effect is called strong gravitational lensing. Normally a single galaxy is lensed at a time. The same foreground galaxy can – in theory – simultaneously lens multiple background galaxies. Although extremely rare, such a lens system offers a unique opportunity to probe the fundamental physics of galaxies and add to our understanding of cosmology. One such lens system has recently been discovered and the discovery was made not in an astronomer’s office, but in a classroom. It has been dubbed the Eye of Horus (Fig. 1), and this ancient eye in the sky will help us understand the history of the universe.   Figure 1: Eye of Horus in pseudo color. Enlarged image to the right (field of view of 23 arcseconds x 19 arcseconds) show two arcs/rings with different colors. The inner arc has a reddish hue, while the outer arc has a blue tint. These arcs are lensed images of the two background galaxies. There are blobs in and around the arcs/rings, which are also the lensed images of those background galaxies. The yellow-ish object at the center is a massive galaxy at z = 0.79 (distance 7 billion light years), which bends the light from the two background galaxies. The wide field image in the background is here. Enlarged image of the Eye of Horus is here and the image with labels is here. (Credit: NAOJ)   Classroom Research Pays Off Subaru Telescope organizes a school for undergraduate students each year. One such session was held... read more

Gemini Observatory Instrumental in Exoplanet Harvest

[source] Gemini Observatory plays a key role in the latest harvest of over 100 confirmed exoplanets from NASA’s K2 mission, the repurposed Kepler spacecraft. Three instruments on the Gemini North telescope delivered precise images verifying many of the candidate stars as planetary system hosts. Researchers note that these systems could contain a considerable number of rocky, potentially earthlike exoplanets. The Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Maunakea helped verify many of the over 100 new worlds announced in the initial crop of discoveries from the NASA K2 mission, according to Ian Crossfield of the University of Arizona. Crossfield led the international team of scientists who announced the findings, which are published online in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. A preprint of the paper is available here. “Gemini North was instrumental because it delivered extremely high-resolution images of over 70 of the almost 200 potential planetary systems that K2 uncovered,” says Crossfield. ”In total we used three instruments, or cameras, on Gemini to complete our studies – so you could say that Gemini was instrumental in that way too!” Once K2’s data are analyzed to identify potential exoplanet candidates, many of the world’s most powerful telescopes, like Gemini, are set into motion. This is so astronomers can rule out other explanations that can produce the signature of a planet orbiting a star. “This is where the discovery happens,” says astronomer Christopher Davis of the US National Science Foundation, which funds over 70% of Gemini. “Once other possibilities are eliminated, like nearby background stars, the team can say with extreme certainty that we have a new exoplanet system.” One of the instruments... read more

UH Astronomers Examine Ice Trapped on Pluto’s Ceres

[from HPR] Astronomers with the University of Hawai‘i are examining possible ice pockets on the dwarf planet Ceres which orbits Pluto. Pictures taken from NASA’s Dawn mission show frozen water may be trapped in craters on the planet’s poles–which sit in dark areas that don’t receive sunlight.  Researchers say Ceres may have just enough gravity to hold the water on the surface.  If temperatures in the crater stay below minus 243 degrees Fahrenheit the area becomes a “Cold Trap”, holding ice for billions of years. Scientists have previously discovered ice hiding in similar pockets on Mercury and Earth’s moon.  Norbert Schorghofer is an associate professor with UH’s Institute for Astronomy. Schorghofer says his team will continue to run stereo imaging tests on the photos to see if water actually exists on the surface of Ceres.... read more