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Latest Science News

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

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 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

Local Events

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

“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

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