Current Events

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

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

News From The Mountain

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

HI-STAR program for Hawaiʻi high school students prepares future science leaders

From UH News For a decade, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy’s summer program has attracted middle school and high school students from across the state. It’s called Hawaiʻi Student/Teacher Astronomy Research or HI STAR. “This program introduces students from across the state of Hawaiʻi to the basic practices of science,” said Geoff Mathews, UH Mānoa astronomy instructor. “Science is about exploring, going out and discovering new things, adding to humanity’s understanding of the universe.” Over the past few years, HI STAR alumni have been awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships and awards at science fairs. The program, which recently marked its 10th year, is unique to the extent in which students design and direct their research projects. Pahoa High School student James Iaukea said, “We got to learn about star clusters and galaxies and basic things like that and now we’re moving into more field-based studies, like I’m working on my exoplanets right now.” UH Mānoa student mentor Marielle Dela Cruz, will be the first student to graduate from from the campus’ nascent astrophysics program in 2017. ”My (students’) project is globular clusters. They have the oldest stars in the universe,” she said. According to organizers, HI STAR alumni are not only college and research ready, they are also becoming future leaders in the science, engineering and technology fields that are so important to Hawaiʻi and the nation.... read more

CFHT has discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting in the disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune.

About IMAGE: Rendering of the orbit of RR245 (orange line). Objects as bright or brighter than RR245 are labeled. The Minor Planet Center describes the object as the 18th largest in the Kuiper Belt. Credit: Alex Parker, OSSOS [source] An international team of astronomers including researchers from the University of British Columbia has discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting in the disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune. The new object is about 700 km in diameter — roughly one-and-a-half times the size of Vancouver Island — and has one of the largest orbits for a dwarf planet. Designated 2015 RR245 by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, it was found using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii, as part of the ongoing Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS). “Finding a new dwarf planet beyond Neptune sheds light on the early phases of planet formation,” said Brett Gladman, the Canada Research Chair in planetary astronomy at UBC. “Since most of these icy worlds are incredibly small and faint, it’s exciting to find a bright one that is easier to study, and which is on an interesting orbit.” RR245 was first spotted in February 2016 by astronomer JJ Kavelaars of the National Research Council of Canada. The OSSOS project uses powerful computers to hunt the images, and Kavelaars was presented with a bright object moving at such a slow rate that it was clearly at least twice as far from Earth Neptune and 120 times further from the Sun than Earth. The exact size of RR245 is not yet exactly known, as its surface properties need further measurement. “It’s... read more

Juno orbits Jupiter!

Normally this space on our site is for information related to discoveries from Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, but the successful orbit (click on this article’s title to see the animation) of Jupiter by Juno effects everyone on the planet.  Jupiter is one of the first planets to form in our system and what is inside this planet that almost became a sun is a mystery.  We are hopeful Juno can  unlock some of the deep secrets of how our planets formed and how a gas planet like Jupiter works.  Follow along on NASA’s page all about the Juno Mission.... read more

30 Hawaiian Akamai interns advance their education this summer

From West Hawaii Today “So, what are you doing this summer?” is one of the most commonly asked questions students are asked when walking out of their final exams. But instead of replying with a casual shrug of the shoulders, Hawaii residents Nicole Tabac, Kyle Mauri and Daryl Albano had the unique opportunity to proudly say, “I’m a Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Akamai intern.” While these students are akamai by every stretch of the word, they are among 30 college students interning in STEM related organizations throughout the Big Island and Maui as a part of the Akamai Internship Program. The program’s mission is to provide college students the opportunity to gain work experience at an observatory, company or technical facility in Hawaii for seven weeks. It has had tremendous success, with an 81 percent retention rate of students staying on the STEM pathway in college and beyond. The program includes housing, travel fees and a stipend to interns. Such is possible through generous funding from sponsors such as Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory and The Air Force Office of Scientific Research based in Arlington, VA. Yet, unlike other similar internships, the program has a variety of sites and jobs available for each student based on their aptitudes and interests. The list includes more than 50 different fields of STEM ranging from biology to computer programming. Students are placed with a project and mentor that best suits their interests, according to Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope’s outreach program manager, Mary Beth Laychak. “You want to make sure the intern, mentor and project are all very well aligned,” she said. “And that’s something that Lisa... read more