Mauna Kea telescope gets grant

The University of Hawaii’s 2.2 meter (88-inch) telescope on Mauna Kea will soon produce images almost as sharp as the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomer Christoph Baranec, UH Institute for Astronomy, was awarded with a grant of nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to build an autonomous adaptive optics system called Robo-AO-2 for the UH telescope.

“The new Robo-AO-2 will usher in a new age of high-resolution science in astronomy,” Baranec said in a press release. “And we’re doing it with one of the oldest and smallest telescopes on Mauna Kea.”

Construction of the new instrument starts at the Hilo facility in September and it will be operational in two years. The instrument will take hundreds of images every night of planets, stars and asteroids without operators.

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