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Kalani High Maunakea Scholars participants with Doug Simons and Mary Beth Laychak of the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi telescope.

Kalani High School students, who were mentored by University of Hawaiʻi’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA) staff, have won telescope viewing time on Maunakea. In April, Canada-France-Hawaiʻi telescope staff met with students, teachers and administrators at Kalani to recognize the 2018–2019 school year winners of the Maunakea Scholars program.

The student winners were selected by a committee comprised of professional astronomers. After months working alongside mentors from IfA, analyzing data and preparing professional-style research proposals, the student observers were selected based on viability, creativity and potential. The students will be given time to utilize a Maunakea Observatory telescope to conduct astronomical research as it supports their proposal.

“The thought of going up and seeing the telescopes is pretty exciting,” said Andrew Gresham, a senior. “I always wanted to go and see new technology, so being able to go up to those high telescopes is pretty cool.”

And the winners are…

Jun Liang Pang and Gresham were awarded one hour of observing time with the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope using the instrument Espadons for their proposal “How Does a Vampire Star Phenomenon Occur and How It Steals from Its Neighbor.”

Sean Koyamatsu was awarded one hour of observing time with the NASA Infrared Telescope for his proposal “Life on Titan.”

All of the participants in Kalani’s program plan to attend UH Mānoa in the fall.

Educators and observatory staff shared information about the telescope and their personal journeys that led to their current jobs in astronomy then briefly spoke on each of the winning proposals. This is the third time since the program’s inception in 2015 that student proposals from Kalani High School have been awarded telescope time.

For more, read the UH news release.

Read more UH News stories on the Maunakea Scholars program.