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A team of astronomers at the International Astronomical Union meeting in Honolulu, including University of Hawaii astronomer Nader Haghighipour, will announce on August 14 the discovery of the tenth transiting circumbinary planet. Reminiscent of the fictional planet Tatooine in “Star Wars,” circumbinary planets orbit two stars and have two “suns” in their skies. The new planet, known as Kepler-453 b, takes 240 days to orbit its parent stars.
Scientists from the University of Hawaii, including Jeff Kuhn, David Harrington, and John Messersmith, are part of a team headed by Prof. Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina, a visiting scientist at the University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute, that has proposed a sensitive technique for detecting life on other planets. This technique could be instrumental in searching for life in the planetary system nearest to the sun, Alpha Centauri, with existing telescopes.
IfA and UHNAI astronomer Nader Haghighipour has been elected president of Division F (Planetary Systems and Astrobiology) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for 2015-18. In this capacity, he will have an important role in promoting and encouraging the study of planetary systems around our sun and outside our solar system, as well as the search for life in the universe, one of the most vital fields of astronomy today.
For the second year in a row, a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA) has received the Robert J. Trumpler Award, given by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific to recognize a recent PhD thesis considered unusually important to astronomy. The 2015 recipient is Dr. H. Jabran Zahid, who received his PhD in 2014.
An amazing video about Maunakea and preparing Hawai‘i's youth for a digital future by PBS and Internet2.
The international Solar Wind Sherpas team, led by Dr. Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy, braved Arctic weather to successfully observe the total solar eclipse of March 20 from Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago east of northern Greenland. Their preliminary results are being presented at the Triennial Earth-Sun Summit in Indianapolis.
Heather Kaluna became the first Native Hawaiian to complete the UH PhD program in astronomy on May 14. She is shown in the picture on the right with her dissertation advisor Dr. Karen Meech. Kaluna's dissertation is entitled "Evolution of Water in Carbonaceous Main Belt Asteroids." We congratulate the new Dr. Kaluna on this achievement.