• Breaking News

  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • RSS Pacific Business News

  • Say When

    November 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Oct    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
  • When

  • RSS World Wide Ed

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Scams Targeting Iselle Victims Being Reported by HELCO

Hawaii Electric Light Company has been informed of scams targeting Hawaii Island customers in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle.

HELCO SCAM

Customers reported receiving telephone calls from someone claiming to be a Hawaii Electric Light claims representative. The customers were asked to provide their social security number.

Hawaii Electric Light wants to remind customers that the utility will not contact customers to request personal information or direct customers to submit payments via options other than those listed on the back of the billing statement.

For your safety and protection:

  • Never provide personal, confidential or financial information to an unidentified individual.
  • Ask questions or ask for proper identification. Request the individual’s name, company name, and phone number.
  • Be cautious when responding to callers from an unidentified phone number. Phone scammers want to remain anonymous.
  • Be aware that today’s technology can be used to mask the caller’s phone number and the caller ID could indicate the call is originating from Hawai‘i Electric Light, even though it is not.
  • Report any suspicious activity to local police.

To obtain a claim form, please visit one of our customer service locations in Hilo, Waimea or Kona or visit our website at www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Begins Construction on Mauna Kea

Following the approval of a sublease on July 25 by the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) announces the beginning of the construction phase on Hawaii Island and around the world throughout the TMT international partnership. Contingent on that decision, the TMT International Observatory (TIO) Board of Directors, the project’s new governing body, recently approved the initial phase of construction, with activities near the summit of Mauna Kea scheduled to start later this year.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

Kahu Ku Mauna and the Mauna Kea Management Board reviewed, and the University of Hawaii Board of Regents recently approved, the proposed TMT sublease. The final approval from the Board of Land and Natural Resources—the last step in the sublease process—allows TMT to begin on-site construction on Mauna Kea, home to many of the world’s premier observatories.

“It has been an amazing journey for TMT, from idea to shovel-ready project,” said Henry Yang, TIO Board Chair and Chancellor of the University of California Santa Barbara. “We are grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Hawaiian government, its citizens, and our project partners in bringing this important astronomical science effort to fruition. It is also my rewarding experience to work with so many community friends, University of Hawaii colleagues, and officials on both the Big Island and Oahu in this journey.”

The Rise of a New Observatory – Activities Around the World

The TMT project was initiated a decade ago by the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the University of California as the TMT Observatory Corporation. Now, as the TMT International Observatory (TIO)—founded as a nonprofit limited liability company on May 6, 2014 —the project has the official green light to begin constructing a powerful next-generation telescope.

The TIO founding members are Caltech, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Japan, and the University of California. India, an associate, is expected to become a full member later this year. Canada is also an associate and aiming to join as a full member in 2015.

Initial construction activities in Hawaii will include grading the site in preparation for future building work, enabling a site dedication ceremony in October. TMT is committed to work within a plan for responsible development on Mauna Kea created by the Office of Mauna Kea Management.

“TMT has worked for many years to design an unprecedented telescope, but also to work with the community to incorporate respect for Mauna Kea in our stewardship,” said Gary Sanders, Project Manager for TMT. “It is an honor and a privilege to now begin building our next-generation observatory in so special a place.”

Other work has already been proceeding off-site and will continue now apace.

“Design of the fully articulated main science steering mirror system in the telescope, as well as development of the lasers, laser guide star systems and other high-tech components, is proceeding in China,” said Yan Jun, Director General of the National Astronomical Observatories of China.

“Japan has seen to the production of over 60 mirror blanks made out of special zero-expansion glass that does not alter its shape with temperature changes. The blanks will be highly polished for use in the telescope’s 30-meter diameter primary mirror. The final design of the telescope structure itself is nearing completion,” said Masanori Iye, TMT International Observatory Board Vice Chair and TMT Japan Representative for the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

In Canada, the TMT adaptive optics facility is in final design. Ernie Seaquist, Executive Director of the ACURA, added, “The TMT enclosure design is complete and the enclosure is now ready for construction by a Canadian industrial firm.”

“Prototyping of TMT’s primary mirror assemblies and the building of mirror actuators, edge sensors, and support systems is ongoing in India,” noted Eswar Reddy, Program Director of the India TMT Coordination Centre.

Three “first-light” instruments are also under development with major contributions from all of the TMT partners.

The Path to Construction

The announcement of an imminent start to on-site work, where all of these initial developments will come together, is welcome news to scientists worldwide.

“The start of construction means that TMT is becoming real, and that’s exciting news for astronomers,” said Catherine Pilachowski, an astronomer at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and an observer representing the United States astronomical community at TMT board meetings. “The science TMT will do is breathtaking, and will engage all astronomers in the adventure of new frontiers.”

The advancement of TMT to this stage of imminent on-site construction has been made possible by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The foundation has spent $141 million to date to fund the design, development, and construction phases of TMT.

“I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and all of our partners and supporters,” said Edward Stone, the Morrisroe Professor of Physics at Caltech and the new Executive Director of TIO. “We are looking forward to starting construction this year and moving ahead.”

A Boost for Hawaii

The start of TMT on-site construction will directly benefit the local Hawaiian community. TMT will now make its first annual contribution to The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund, a program that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math education across grades K-12, secondary, and post-secondary education. Over the life of the TMT lease on Mauna Kea, TMT will give $1 million per year to the THINK Fund.

In the construction sector, TMT will create about 300 full-time construction jobs. TMT has committed to the hiring of union workers for these positions. Looking further ahead, during operations, TMT will have a staff of about 120-140, which will be drawn as much as possible from Hawaii Island’s available labor pool. A workforce pipeline program in the meantime will also educate and train island residents for jobs with TMT, as well as other observatories and high-tech industries.

“The start of construction of TMT is great news for Hawaii Island residents,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT’s Manager of Hawaii Community Affairs. “We are proud to be a good citizen of the community as we all work toward building a revolutionary astronomical instrument.”

 

First Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit a Success on the Big Island

Hilo Hosted High School Students from China, Japan, India, Canada and the Big Island

The first Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit, sponsored by the Thirty Meter Telescope and the County of Hawaii, and hosted at the Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawaii at Hilo, brought together high school students and educators from China, Japan, India, Canada and the Big Island for four days of intense learning and interaction.

Kids Summit
Workshops included CCD Technology (Dr. JJ Armstrong, Institute for Astronomy), Adaptive Optics (Peter Michaud, Gemini Observatory), Polarization of Light (Dr. Saeko Hayashi, Subaru Telescope), Planetary Remote Sensing (Dr. Rob Wright, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology), The Sun (Dr. Paul Coleman, Institute for Astronomy), Light Spectroscopy (Dale Olive, Waiakea High School), Orientation to Mauna Kea (Stephanie Nagata, Office of Mauna Kea Management), and an Overview of the Hawaii Volcanoes (Janet Babb, USGS, Hawaii Volcanoes).

Team design briefs included Mars Robotics (Dale Olive and Tom Murphy, Waiakea High Robotics) and Asteroid Drilling (Christian Andersen, PISCES).  Keynote speakers included Dr. Ravinder Bhatia, Thirty Meter Telescope, Krystal Schlecter, UHH Astrophysics Club and Dr. Paul Coleman.  Lt Governor Shan Tsutsui welcomed the conference participants and Representatives Mark Nakashima, Cliff Tsuji and Richard Onishi presented House certificates to each participant.

Students presented science projects and shared a cultural presentation.  Field trips included sunset viewing and star gazing at Hale Pohaku and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Out of state school students were provided with an additional home stay experiences after the summit by Waiakea and Hilo High School families.

Big Island schools participating included: Hilo High School, Connections Public Charter School, Honokaa High School, and Waiakea High School.  Thirty Meter Telescope partner countries were represented by the Shri Ram School, Aravali, India; Shawnigan Lake School, British Columbia, Canada; the High School affiliated with Beihang University, Beijing, China; Ritsumeikan High School, Kyoto, Japan; and Senri High School, Osaka, Japan.

Connections Public Charter School student Clara Cellini said, “I think international conferences are very beneficial to students because we are put in new situations with new people.  Bringing people of different cultures together to focus on a single goal creates a sense of unity. Every student should have the opportunity to experience this.”

An educator shared, “The knowledge, resources, connections gained are priceless.  This is the optimum education environment. Students and teachers were provided with hands on problem solving activities and constructed new knowledge by collaboration.  The sharing of international minds is a powerful entity that many do not get to experience.  It results in, or fosters a global perspective.”

“There are many benefits to those who attended this event.  You get to meet different people and experience new things.  Your knowledge and imagination of the things that are possible is expanded.  Your confidence level is also given a boost.  Because you have to present a project, you also gain experience in presenting. You also get to go to new and different places.  It is a wonderful experience that everyone should have. I am so honored to have been given the opportunity,” said Waiakea High School student Olivia Murray.

Ritsumeikan High School Principal Hiroshi, Tanaka who first hosted the Japan Super Science Fair 10 years ago in Kyoto, after which the Hawaii summit is modeled, said “International cooperation is really necessary for young scientists. I believe participants broadened their horizons and constructed a global network.  I am most grateful to all who supported this Summit.”

For further information on the 2013 Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit, contact Art Kimura, Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, art@higp.hawaii.edu.

 

Thirty Meter Telescope Briefing Held Last Week – Video by Guy Toyama

The following video was uploaded by Guy Toyama one week ago on November 5, 2012:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/2T1pFhGmg48]

Mark Sirota, engineer at the new Thirty Meter Telescope talks about the project scheduled to be installed atop Mauna Kea.

UFO Caught on the Canada-France-Hawaii (CFH) Telescope on Mauna Kea?

*UPDATE* Please read Andrew Cooper’s explanation in the comments below.  This should clear everything up.

Someone pointed me to this video that the Canada France Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea captured on July 10th of this year and asked if I could explain the light that shoots across the screen near the bottom of the screen at the 1 minute and 24 second mark.  I really don’t have an explanation for it other then the fact that it’s definitely unidentifiable to me.  Can anyone else identify this Unidentified Flying Object (UFO)?

No… I don’t think the aliens are out to get us!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/EfqAPrRCUgw]

The CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

The Observatory headquarters are located in Waimea (also known as Kamuela by the US Postal Service), where CFHT has been part of the community since 1977. Waimea is a small country town of 6,000 nested at 2,500 feet in the saddle between the Mauna Kea dormant volcano and the Kohala mountains. Named by the 2000 Robb Report as one of the 10 most desirable places to live in the United States, it has retained its 150-year old Paniolo (cowboy) culture but also offers many conveniences of modern life. Along with its green pastures grazed by cows, horses, sheep, and goats, Waimea hosts excellent schools, a modern hospital, the Kahilu Theater, shopping centers, over a dozen restaurants, and more!

University of Arizona Awarded Millions to Shape Maui’s Advanced Technology Solar Telescope

Everyone on the Big Island has been so worried about the Thirty Meter Telescope project on top of Mauna Kea… I think a lot of folks have forgotten about the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope that is going to be built on Haleakala over on Maui.

Proposed site for the ATST

When finished, the 4.2m mirror will be the largest telescope mirror ever pointed at the sun. Polished into a highly complex, asymmetric shape, it will be the centerpiece of the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope in Hawaii, allowing researchers to study the sun in unprecedented detail.

The University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, or AURA, to polish the 4.2m primary mirror for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, or ATST.

When operational in Hawaii, the ATST will become the world’s largest solar telescope. This glass mirror will serve as the primary focusing element to create high-resolution images of the fine scale structure of the sun…

More here: UA Awarded Millions to Shape Telescope Mirror

W.M. Keck Observatory “Top Coolest College Observatories”

I just had an email sent to me alerting me that W.M. Keck Observatory was voted the “Top Coolest College Observatory” by there standards and I just have to wonder if they forgot that it’s probably also one of the “Coldest”.

Mauna Kea

Image by chogenbo via Flickr

We’ve put together a list of some of the most beautiful, powerful and historic college observatories out there, but if your school’s observatory doesn’t appear, don’t fret: the list is by no means comprehensive. On it, students will find a variety of observatories, some located on college campuses and others in remote locations where the view of the night sky is a little clearer. What all of them have in common, however, is that you don’t have to be an astronomy major to appreciate just how cool they are and what they may be able to teach us about our solar system and the mysterious universe beyond it.

  1. W. M. Keck Observatory, Caltech and University of California: Located on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii, this observatory boasts two of the largest telescopes in the world, each with lens 33 feet in diameter. While not on the campus of Caltech or U of C, the observatory could still be worth a visit for students interested in astronomy, and not just for its proximity to the beaches of this tropical paradise. Keck has some of the most cutting-edge tools in the world, being used to research and explore the outer reaches of our galaxy, and attracts leading scientists from both colleges and organizations like NASA.

More here: The 10 Coolest College Observatories

University of Hawaii Astronomers Discover New Comet

Media Release:

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have discovered a new comet that they expect will be visible to the naked eye in early 2013.

Animation showing the comet moving against the background of stars. Images taken at the Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope on the night of June 5-6, 2011. Hawaii time is 10 hours earlier than Universal Time (UT). Credit: Henry Hsieh, PS1SC

Animation showing the comet moving against the background of stars. Images taken at the Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope on the night of June 5-6, 2011. Hawaii time is 10 hours earlier than Universal Time (UT). Credit: Henry Hsieh, PS1SC

Originally found by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Maui, on the night of June 5-6, it was confirmed to be a comet by UH astronomer Richard Wainscoat and graduate student Marco Micheli the following night using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea.

A preliminary orbit computed by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., shows that the comet will come within about 30 million miles (50 million km) of the sun in early 2013, about the same distance as Mercury. The comet will pose no danger to Earth.

Wainscoat said, “The comet has an orbit that is close to parabolic, meaning that this may be the first time it will ever come close to the sun, and that it may never return.”

The comet is now about 700 million miles (1.2 billion km) from the sun, placing it beyond the orbit of Jupiter. It is currently too faint to be seen without a telescope with a sensitive electronic detector.

The comet is expected to be brightest in February or March 2013, when it makes its closest approach to the sun. At that time, the comet is expected to be visible low in the western sky after sunset, but the bright twilight sky may make it difficult to view.

Over the next few months, astronomers will continue to study the comet, which will allow better predictions of how bright it will eventually get. Wainscoat and UH astronomer Henry Hsieh cautioned that predicting the brightness of comets is notoriously difficult, with numerous past comets failing to reach their expected brightness.

Making brightness predictions for new comets is difficult because astronomers do not know how much ice they contain. Because sublimation of ice (conversion from solid to gas) is the source of cometary activity and a major contributor to a comet’s overall eventual brightness, this means that more accurate brightness predictions will not be possible until the comet becomes more active as it approaches the sun and astronomers get a better idea of how icy it is.

The comet is named C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS). Comets are usually named after their discoverers, but in this case, because a large team, including observers, computer scientists, and astronomers, was involved, the comet is named after the telescope.

C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) most likely originated in the Oort cloud, a cloud of cometlike objects located in the distant outer solar system. It was probably gravitationally disturbed by a distant passing star, sending it on a long journey toward the sun.

Comets like C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) offer astronomers a rare opportunity to look at pristine material left over from the early formation of the solar system.

The comet was found while searching the sky for potentially hazardous asteroids—ones that may someday hit Earth. Software engineer Larry Denneau, with help from Wainscoat and astronomers Robert Jedicke, Mikael Granvik and Tommy Grav, designed software that searches each image taken by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope for moving objects. Denneau, Hsieh and UH astronomer Jan Kleyna also wrote other software that searches the moving objects for comets’ tell-tale fuzzy appearance. The comet was identified by this automated software.

The Pan-STARRS 1 telescope has a 1.8-meter-diameter mirror and the largest digital camera in the world (1.4 billion pixels). Each image is almost 3 gigabytes in size, and the camera takes an image approximately every 45 seconds. Each night, the telescope images more than 1,000 square degrees of the night sky.

NASA, Hawaii’s Partner For Space Exploration

Media Release:

NASA and the State of Hawai’i have agreed to collaborate on a wide range of activities to promote America’s human and robotic exploration of space. The partnership also will contribute to the development of education programs and foster economic opportunities including new, high-tech jobs.

The Scarab

The Scarab

Governor Neil Abercrombie and NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Rebecca Keiser signed a two-year agreement, formally called a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement Annex, during a ceremony today in the Governor’s Office. The ceremony was held on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s historic announcement committing the country to land an American on the moon and return him safely before the end of the decade.

NASA Engineers Checking Out the SCARAB

NASA Engineers Checking Out the SCARAB

“Hawai’i has been part of America’s space activities from the beginning of the space program when Apollo astronauts trained in the islands for their historic missions to the moon,” Governor Abercrombie said. “This partnership with NASA will broaden educational and employment opportunities for our local families and bring dollars into our economy.”

Moon dust to water

Moon dust to water

The agreement establishes a partnership between NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and Hawai’i to explore and test new technologies, capabilities and strategies supporting America’s space exploration and development goals.

Under the agreement, the state is proposing to explore the development of a prototype International Lunar Research Park at the University of Hawai’i on Hilo. It would use the state’s unique terrain, which is similar to that of the moon and Mars, to enable development and testing of advanced automated and tele-robotic vehicles. Researchers would benefit from Hawai’i’s natural geography, advanced communications, power generation and other technologies required for space exploration.


“This is the type of participatory exploration involving universities and small- to mid-sized high technology companies that is becoming an increasingly important component of the 21st century space program,” Keiser said. “Americans want to participate directly and personally in space activities. As we have seen from NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services project and the Centennial Challenges prize competitions, harvesting the country’s innovative talent is important to the success of our future endeavors in space. The space frontier is opening in novel and exciting ways.”

The state will provide the prototype test environment and infrastructure for the proposed analog test facilities. NASA will evaluate new concepts and models for conducting space exploration. The state will explore the potential to develop and mature innovative space-related technologies for educational, industry and government use.

“From NASA’s perspective, this partnership can inspire ideas and applications from analog test sites that can be generalized to space exploration and development of the moon and other planetary bodies,” said Ames Director Pete Worden.

The state’s Office of Aerospace Development will be the lead state agency for the project, enhancing dialogue and coordination among the state, private and academic partners to enable growth and diversification of the state’s aerospace economy.

“We support NASA’s goal to promote public-private partnerships and multinational alliances to help reduce the cost, enhance the feasibility and accelerate the implementation of future space missions – leading to settlements beyond low-Earth orbit,” said Jim Crisafulli, director of Hawai’i’s Office of Aerospace Development. “Locally, this collaboration should catalyze Hawai’i-based economic innovation and engage engineers, scientists, educators, and students, as well as commercial entrepreneurs, to increase the opportunities and benefits of space exploration.”

For more information about the International Lunar Research Park, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/internationallunarresearchpark

For more information about Ames, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/ames

For more information about Hawaii’s aerospace initiatives, visit: http://aerospacehawaii.info

The following pictures are from when the Media got to go up to Mauna Kea and check out the NASA equipment being tested  up there a few years ago. Click on the Picture for a larger view:

pahoaetc-029
Demonstrating Lunar Barrel Scooper
Demonstrating Lunar Barrel Scooper
Barrel Scooper for Lunar Dust
Barrel Scooper for Lunar Dust
More Demonstrations
More Demonstrations
Not sure what this is now
Not sure what this is now
Ramp for Lunar Dust Scooper
Ramp for Lunar Dust Scooper
Lunar Dust Scooper
Lunar Dust Scooper
Water Creating Machine
Water Creating Machine
Water Creating Machine
Water Creating Machine
SCARAB - Back
SCARAB – Back
Drill on SCARAB
Drill on SCARAB
Demonstrating the Mobility
Demonstrating the Mobility
Demonstrating the SCARAB
Demonstrating the SCARAB
SCARAB - Side
SCARAB – Side
NASA workers explain the unexplainable
NASA workers explain the unexplainable
SCARAB Million Dollar Tire
SCARAB Million Dollar Tire
SCARAB - Side
SCARAB – Side
SCARAB - Front
SCARAB – Front
Mauna Kea workers look on in awe
Mauna Kea workers look on in awe
Larson continures explanations
Larson continures explanations
Bill Larson - Chief, Applied Sciences Division, NASA
Bill Larson – Chief, Applied Sciences Division, NASA
Forgot the name of this toy
Forgot the name of this toy
Waiting for the UFO's
Waiting for the UFO’s
There were some boundaries
There were some boundaries
Parking Area
Parking Area
Trip Down in to Classified Site
Trip Down in to Classified Site
Wife and Weird Machine
Wife and Weird Machine
scarab-021
scarab-028
revolve
scarab-037
scarabtire
scarab2
scarab1
red-suits
valley2
valley

International Colloquium on the Thirty Meter Telescope Going on Now

Media Release:

As part of the 4th International Symposium on Photoelectronic Detection and Imaging (ISPDI 2011), May 24-26, 2011 in Beijing, China, scientists and engineers from the US and China are meeting for a special colloquium on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The colloquium is a milestone in the TMT international partnership for development and operation of TMT.

Collaborators from both countries will consider a wide range of technical, engineering and science components in the TMT plan, including specific contributions to TMT that are anticipated to be provided by China.

“TMT will be a global asset in the quest for knowledge about our universe, and this colloquium will showcase Chinese interest in building and joining this remarkable capability,” said Gary Sanders, TMT Project Manager.

Technical topics for discussion include aspects of fabricating segmented mirrors, laser assisted guide star adaptive optics, high performance science instruments, and management of cross disciplinary research. The program includes presentations from members from both the US and China collaborating institutes, including:

  • Keynote: The Thirty Meter Telescope: Opening the Next Generation of Extremely Large Telescopes, Jerry Nelson (Project Scientist, TMT)
  • TMT Construction and Operations, Gary Sanders (Project Manager, TMT)
  • Optics for the Thirty Meter Telescope, Eric Williams (Telescope Optics Group Leader, TMT)
  • The Secondary and Tertiary mirrors for the Thirty Meter Telescope, Virginia Ford (Senior Opto-Mechanical Engineer)
  • The Progress of SMP on TMT Test Mirrors, Xinnan, Li (Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology, CAS)
  • CIOMP Fabrication Plan for TMT Tertiary Mirror, Xuejun, Zhang/Ligong, Zheng (Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, CAS)
  • The Design Improvement of TMT Laser Guiding Star Facility, Kai, Wei (The Institute of Optics and Electronics, CAS)
  • The Prototype of TIPC Sodium Laser, Yong, Bo (Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, CAS)
  • Feasibility Studies for the MOBIE Acquisition, Guiding, and Wavefront Sensing (AGWFS) subsystem, Zhongwen, Hu (Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology, CAS)

The colloquium is hosted by the National Astronomical Observatory of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the Chinese Society of Astronautics – Optics and Mechanics committee.

Program sponsors come from a wide range of institutes and universities in China, including:

  • Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology, CAS
  • The Institute of Optics and Electronics, CAS
  • Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics
  • CAS Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, CAS
  • Peking University
  • Tsinghua University
  • University of Science and Technology of China
  • Nanjing University
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University

For more information, please see the ISPDI 2011 website: http://www.ispdiconf.org/en/index.html

In December 2010, China officially joined as an international observer in the TMT project. The TMT project is an international partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy, joined by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Department of Science and Technology of India.

New Sketches of Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Released

Media Release:

Following the successful conclusion of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s Environmental Impact Statement and Final Design Review of the observatory enclosure, TMT worked with acclaimed science animator and producer Dana Berry on a new, more accurate set of renderings of the observatory and its support building as they will appear on Mauna Kea.

Top View of TMT Complex

These renderings accurately portray the observatory with a reflective dome. This aluminized coating was selected to help the observatory maintain a constant temperature and to blend in with the surrounding environment. The dome will reflect the color of the local lava field during the warmer months and will appear white when snow covers the top of the mountain.

The new images also demonstrate how the support building and access road will utilize native rock and colors to better match the local environment.

Side View of TMT Complex

The telescope will be sited on the northern plateau of Mauna Kea at a location known as 13 North within Area E. This section of the mountain, which was identified as the preferred site for a next-generation optical observatory in the 2000 Mauna Kea Reserve Master Plan, is below the summit and its predominant geologic feature is a basalt lava flow. This particular rock has weathered to a reddish hue, which influenced the exterior appearance and color choices of the observatory.

Astronomers Discover Close-knit Pairs of Massive Black Holes

Media Release:

Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and University of Hawaii (UH) have discovered 16 close-knit pairs of supermassive black holes in merging galaxies.

The discovery, based on observations done at the W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, is being presented in Seattle on January 12 at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society, and has been submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

 

Three of the newly discovered black-hole pairs. On the left are images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The images on the right show the same galaxies taken with the Keck telescope and the aid of adaptive optics, revealing pairs of active galactic nuclei, which are powered by massive black holes. Credit: S. George Djorgovski

 

These black-hole pairs, also called binaries, are about a hundred to a thousand times closer together than most that have been observed before, providing astronomers a glimpse into how these behemoths and their host galaxies merge—a crucial part of understanding the evolution of the universe. Although few similarly close pairs have been seen previously, this is the largest population of such objects observed as the result of a systematic search.

“This is a very nice confirmation of theoretical predictions,” says S. George Djorgovski, professor of astronomy, who will present the results at the conference. “These close pairs are a missing link between the wide binary systems seen previously and the merging black-hole pairs at even smaller separations that we believe must be there.”

As the universe has evolved, galaxies have collided and merged to form larger ones. Nearly every one—or perhaps all—of these large galaxies contains a giant black hole at its center, with a mass millions—or even billions—of times higher than the sun’s. Material such as interstellar gas falls into the black hole, producing enough energy to outshine galaxies composed of a hundred billion stars. The hot gas and black hole form an active galactic nucleus, the brightest and most distant of which are called quasars. The prodigious energy output of active galactic nuclei can affect the evolution of galaxies themselves.

While galaxies merge, so should their central black holes, producing an even more massive black hole in the nucleus of the resulting galaxy. Such collisions are expected to generate bursts of gravitational waves, which have yet to be detected. Some merging galaxies should contain pairs of active nuclei, indicating the presence of supermassive black holes on their way to coalescing. Until now, astronomers have generally observed only widely separated pairs—binary quasars—which are typically hundreds of thousands of light-years apart.

“If our understanding of structure formation in the universe is correct, closer pairs of active nuclei must exist,” adds Adam Myers, a research scientist at UIUC and one of the coauthors. “However, they would be hard to discern in typical images blurred by Earth’s atmosphere.”

The solution was to use Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics, a technique that enables astronomers to remove the atmospheric blur and capture images as sharp as those taken from space. One such system is deployed on the W. M. Keck Observatory’s 10-meter telescopes on Mauna Kea.

The astronomers selected their targets using spectra of known galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In the SDSS images, the galaxies are unresolved, appearing as single objects instead of binaries. To find potential pairs, the astronomers identified targets with double sets of emission lines—a key feature that suggests the existence of two active nuclei.

By using adaptive optics on Keck, the astronomers were able to resolve close pairs of galactic nuclei, discovering 16 such binaries out of 50 targets. “The pairs we see are separated only by a few thousands of light-years—and there are probably many more to be found,” says Hai Fu, a Caltech postdoctoral scholar and the lead author of the paper.

“Our results add to the growing understanding of how galaxies and their central black holes evolve,” adds Lin Yan, a staff scientist at Caltech and one of the coauthors of the study.

“These results illustrate the discovery power of adaptive optics on large telescopes,” Djorgovski says. “With the upcoming Thirty Meter Telescope, we’ll be able to push our observational capabilities to see pairs with separations that are three times closer.”

A Darkerview on “Ziplinegate” Oh the IRONY!

Geez… I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself involved in… but I’ll be posting more comments on this entire situation going on with the possible lawsuit against my blog when I know more status about it.

In the meantime, I’ll throw the attention to the latest blogger to give attention to this matter and that is Andrew Cooper over at The Darker View where he states in his post “Blogging and Libel“:

“…The ironic part is that Damon had previously given a great deal of positive press to this operation. This top banner on his blog even features a photo of Damon riding the Umauma zipline!..”

Damn Andrew… you really know where to sock me in the gut huh? Just teasing as I’ve previously stated this is one of the best pictures of me taken ever!

I’ll be changing my header in the next few days due to the recent things that have happened in the last few days.

Keck Telescope: “Total Number of Stars in the Universe is Likely Three Times Bigger Than Realized”

Remember the phrase “There are more stars in the sky then grains of sand on the planet” well the amount of stars out there may be even more then what we first expected.

Big Island Blogger Andrew Cooper, who works up at the Keck Telescope,  reports:

Astronomers have discovered that small, dim stars known as red dwarfs are much more prolific than previously thought—so much so that the total number of stars in the universe is likely three times bigger than realized

Full release here: A Lot More Stars Out There

Tribune Herald on the TMT Project… HUH? Where are the Locals?

I was trying to figure out how the TMT project was providing a boost in our economy when not many folks right now are even from Hawaii that are working on this project and construction has not officially began.

I fired off the following question to Sandra Dawson the “Task Leader for the TMT Site Master planning”:

I read in the newspaper the other day that the TMT has helped employment numbers on this island, but at no time have I seen an announcement listing job opportunities.

I do see quite a few people employed: http://www.tmt.org/about-tmt/people

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like many local folks have been hired yet.

When will local folks have an opportunity at applying for positions with TMT.

I got the following response from Ms. Dawson regarding the newspaper article:

The newspaper should have said “will help employment numbers”.  The only hiring we have done so far is a few small contracts with local companies for surveys, and several contracts for consulting.  I am still the only
TMT employee in Hawaii.
Current TMT employees are are specialized telescope designers and scientists, and are in California and Canada.  If there are local folks who qualify for these specialized positions they will be considered.  I see every applicant for jobs from Hawaii, and there have been very few so far.

We hope to begin construction by the end of 2011.  When we do that, we will likely beef up our office staff here with local people, as well as hiring local construction workers.

Final EIS – TMT Observatory Project

Media Release:

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (UH Hilo) in its capacity as the proposing agency for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project has approved the publication of the Final EIS.  The notice of availability has been published in the May 8, 2010, edition of The Environmental Notice.  A copy of the Final EIS is available for download at www.TMT-HawaiiEIS.org.

The Final EIS identifies the “13-North” (13N) site as the Project, as the Draft EIS did, and this site remains the focus of the Final EIS.  The selection of the 13N site was based on consideration of the impacts of both the 13N site and the Project alternatives considered.

The acceptance of the Final EIS by the Governor of Hawai‘i completes the Project’s compliance with the EIS law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 343) and the EIS rules (Hawai‘i Administrative Rules, Title 11, Chapter 200).  Therefore, you will not receive any further notifications regarding the Project.  You can continue to follow the Project at www.tmt.org.

Japanese Megastars Masami Nagasawa and Asami Mizukawa Visit Mauna Kea and Cruise Hilo

Japanese Superstars Masami  Nagasawa

and Asami Mizukawa

…recently visited Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

The following is a video of their visit to the mountain and then they cruise Hilo:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_Be1Of7kQQ&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&hd=1]

A Waikiki View

I’ve seen everything… so I thought! Here is a street vendor soliciting views of Jupiter through a telescope… and people are bucking up!

The Dark Side of the Moon… in the Daytime

Have you ever looked up in the sky…

Moon

… And wondered why you can’t see the dark side of the moon in the daytime?

Dark Side of the Moon

I bet Andrew, Tom, Anthony, or Canspice can give me a reasonable explanation.

I understand the sun is on that side etc… but why can’t I at least see the round black dark side of the moon in the daytime?

Video: 2009 Galileo Block Party

The Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee (www.mkooc.org) planned and sponsored the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Galileo Block Party. Held in Hilo, Hawaii on Saturday, October 24th.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV9f7MxiT4Q&hl=en&fs=1&]