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February MKS looks at Maunakea’s Future

by Brea Aamoth on February 12th, 2015

Imiloa Maunakea Skies - 2015

Next Maunakea Skies Talk February 20, 2015

Speaker: Dr. Doug Simons, Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT)

Topic: Perspectives on the Future of Maunakea

With the contention surrounding last year’s TMT ground breaking ceremony, future observatory construction and deconstruction plans, and a new master lease under consideration for the summit of Maunakea, this unique and sacred site is at an incredible intersection of visions, beliefs, and frontiers. Dr. Simons’ presentation explores many of the facets of Maunakea, where earth meets sky in the Hawaiian archipelago, ranging from its cultural and religious importance to the phenomenal discoveries made through observations from the Maunakea observatories.

“Can a lasting and widely accepted vision for the future of Maunakea emerge from these disparate views?” This is a difficult question, and as Dr. Simons notes, “the answer isn’t etched in the sky or an echo from the past, but is ultimately found within ourselves.”

Dr. Doug Simons received his B.S. in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in 1985 and aSimons_CFHT Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i in 1990 before working as a staff astronomer at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope for 4 years. Doug joined Gemini Observatory in May of 1994 as the Systems Scientist, then managed Gemini’s instrument development program for 5 years before becoming Gemini’s Director from 2006-2011. Doug returned to CFHT in 2012 where he now serves as Executive Director. Principal areas of interest include infrared instrumentation and studies of the Galactic center, low mass stars, and star formation regions.

CFHT will provide their 2015 Hawaiian Starlight Wall Calendar for the first 50 in the planetarium line that night. The twelve gorgeous, true-color images obtained by the MegaCam wide-field CCD imaging camera illustrate brilliantly the rich and complex structures populating our Universe.

Maunakea Skies program will be hosted by Cam Wipper, ‘Imiloa planetarium staff. He will provide observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, pointing out prominent constellations and stars one can see during this time of year.

The monthly Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. Cost is $8 for Individual, Dual, Kupuna and Family Members; $6 for Patron Members; Free for Silver, Gold, and Corporate Members. Non-member rate is $10. Pre-purchase tickets at the ‘Imiloa front desk or by phone at 969-9703.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in Hilo, off Komohana and Nowelo Streets at the UH Hilo Science and Technology Park. For more information, go to, or call (808) 969-9703.

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