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Haleakala Observatory

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Established  1961 (1961)
Pan-STARRS PS1  1.8 m reflector
Organization  University of Hawaii
Faulkes Telescope North  2.0 m reflector
Address  Kula, HI 96790, USA
Haleakala Observatory
Location  Haleakalā, Hawaii, U.S.
Altitude  3,052 meters (10,013 ft)

Hawaii 2015 2016 maui haleakala observatory

The Haleakalā Observatory on the island of Maui, also known as the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site, is the location of Hawaii's first astronomical research observatory. It is owned by the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawai'i, which operates some of the facilities on the site and leases portions to other organizations. Tenants include the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGTN). At over 3,050 meters (10,010 ft) in altitude, the summit of Haleakalā is above one third of the Earth's atmosphere and has excellent astronomical seeing conditions.


Mees Solar Observatory

The Mees Solar Observatory (MSO) is named after Kenneth Mees and dedicated in 1964. It consists of one dome with multiple instruments sharing a common mount.


The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is a planned array of telescopes plus a computing facility that will survey the sky on a continual basis, and provide accurate astrometry and photometry of detected objects. By detecting any differences from previous observations of the same areas of the sky, it is expected to discover a very large number of new asteroids, comets, variable stars and other celestial objects. Currently, the 1.8 m (71 in) PS1 prototype telescope is in operation and the PS2 is under construction.

Faulkes Telescope North

The Faulkes Telescope North, part of the Faulkes Telescope Project, is a 2.0 m (79 in) reflecting telescope owned and operated by the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. It provides remote access to a research-quality telescope primarily to students in the United Kingdom.

TLRS-4 Laser Ranging System

The TLRS-4 Laser Ranging System is part of the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS), which provides satellite laser ranging and lunar laser ranging data. The TLRS-4 replaced an older facility in order to provide continuity of data. The old facility now houses telescopes of the Pan-STARRS project.

Zodiacal Light Observatory

The Zodiacal Light Observatory currently consists of two instruments. The Scatter-free Observatory for Limb Active Regions and Coronae (SOLARC or SOLAR-C) telescope is a 0.5 m (20 in) off-axis reflecting coronagraph that is used to study the Sun's corona. The Day-Night Seeing Monitor Telescope System (DNSM) makes telescope-independent observations of perturbations in the atmosphere above Haleakala.

Maui Space Surveillance Complex

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) operates the Maui Space Surveillance Complex (MSSC), which is part of the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site (AMOS). Located at the MSSC are the 3.67 m (144 in) Advanced Electro Optical System Telescope (AEOS), the Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS), and the Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS). The MSSS uses a number of optical assets, including a 1.6 m (63 in) telescope, two 1.2 m (47 in) telescopes on a common mount, a 0.8 m (31 in) beam director/tracker, and a 0.6 m (24 in) laser beam director. The GEODSS uses two 1.0 m (39 in) telescopes and one 0.38 m (15 in) telescope.

Future facilities

  • The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) is a 4.0 m (160 in) solar telescope currently under construction by the National Solar Observatory.
  • The AFRL has plans to build a mirror re-coating facility adjacent to the AEOS building.
  • Former facilities

  • A Baker-Nunn telescope operated from 1957 to 1976 as part of Project Space Track.
  • The Lunar Ranging Experiment (LURE) Observatory operated from 1974 until 1994. The Pan-STARRS PS1 now resides in the south dome of the LURE facility and the PS2 is being built in the north dome.
  • The University of Chicago Enrico Fermi Institute operated the Haleakala Cosmic Ray Neutron Monitor Station from 1991 to 2007.
  • The Haleakala Gamma Ray Observatory was a six-mirror Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope on an equatorial mount. It began operating in 1981 and was upgraded in 1988.
  • The Multicolor Active Galactic Nuclei Monitoring (MAGNUM) was a 2.0 m (79 in) near infrared telescope operated by the University of Tokyo. It was housed in the LURE facility's north dome from 1998 to 2008.
  • Observations of airglow were made from a platform near the middle of the site in the 1960s and 1970s. The platform is now used for temporary projects.
  • The Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program operated from 2000 to 2007 using one of the MSSS 1.2 m telescopes.
  • Non-astronomical facilities

  • The Federal Aviation Administration operates a facility immediately to the west of the observatory site.
  • The Department of Energy also operates a facility immediately to the west of the observatory site.
  • A small building on the site is used by the Haleakalā Amateur Astronomers.
  • References

    Haleakala Observatory Wikipedia

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