The Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court has affirmed the Conservation District Use Permit for the construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakalā, Maui. The majority opinion said that the telescope is consistent with the purposes of the conservation district. The high court also unanimously affirmed the environmental assessment, which protects natural resources in the Haleakalā Observatories site.
The vertical, external construction of the $340-million telescope is complete. The remaining work is internal and the project is on budget and on track to be operational in 2019.
“The University of Hawaiʻi is pleased with the State Supreme Court’s actions today,” said UH President David Lassner. “We are still reviewing the full decisions, but we look forward to ‘first light’ when the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope will open a new era of discovery, in Hawaiʻi, about the sun and its daily impacts on all life on Earth.”
“Scientists will be able to see more clearly into the heart of sunspots, flares and other solar activity,” said Hasinger. “New understandings of how the sun works, such as learning to predict solar storms, is vital to protect vital space-based assets such as communication and weather satellites and earth-based assets such as our power grids. This will also inspire the next generation of discoverers and explorers from among Hawaiʻi’s youth.”