Journey Through the Universe 2023

The 19th annual Journey Through the Universe (JTTU) program was held February 27th – March 3rd, 2023 on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Throughout the week, astronomy educators visited K-12 classrooms in the Hilo-Waiakea complex area to promote science education and inspire students to explore STEM fields. Coordinated by the staff of the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, in partnership with the Department of Education, JTTU reaches thousands of students each year. East Asian Observatory staff were thrilled to participate again this year and had a great time connecting with the kids in our local community. Looking forward to what next year’s 20th Anniversary program has in store!

Haʻaheo Family STEAM Night

On February 22nd, 2023 – Telescope System and Outreach Program Specialist, Callie Matulonis, got to share her enthusiasm and knowledge with over 75 students, teachers, and their family members at the Ha’aheo Elementary School’s Family STEAM night. Accompanied by former JCMT Extended Operator, Cameron Wipper, who is now an Astronomy Technical Specialist at the Canada France Hawaii Telescope – the dynamic duo presented a night filled with activities and a talk story session that ended with a cooler full of fresh snow delivered from the summit of Maunakea.

The crowded cafeteria was thrilled to hear that an alumni of Ha’aheo Elementary School, Ed Sison, has been working at JCMT as a Mechanical Technician for more than 20 years.

Ha’aheo is a small school that was established in 1888 in north Hilo.

Maunakea Wonders Teacher Workshop 2022 – A Success!

The Maunakea Wonders Teacher Workshop classroom visit on October 28th included students in the UH Hilo Master’s in Teaching program with presenters Yuko Kakazu, Leinani Lozi, and Callie Matulonis.

The 2022 Maunakea Wonders Teacher Workshop took place on October 28th and November 4th adding success to a collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi that has reached more than 100 participants since it began in 2017.

On October 28th, guest speakers Callie Matulonis (EAO/JCMT), Leinani Lozi (TMT), and Yuko Kakazu (NAOJ) provided enthusiastic and engaging presentations to 14 soon-to-be teachers at UH Hilo in the Master’s in Teaching Program. Presentations included “An Introduction to Maunakea Wonders, MKAOC Opportunities, and Hawaii Discovers Science Highlights”, “Hawaiian Navigational Starlines and Moon Phases”, and “Hands-On Engaging Astronomy Activities.”

On November 4th, participants were treated to a private planetarium show at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center before visiting the East Asian Observatory headquarters. At EAO, participants split into two groups and visited stations set up to learn about our JCMT Remote Operations Control Room with Telescope System Specialist Jasmin Silva (EAO/JCMT), and also shown the Fast Radio Burst Dish with Derek Kubo (SMA). Afterwards, we had an informal career-panel talk story session with EAO staff from all departments over pizza!

We look forward to our future collaborations with UH Hilo and hope that these soon-to-be teachers reach out to us as a resource throughout their teaching careers.

2022 Maunakea Wonders participants at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center.

Touring the JCMT Remote Operations Control Room with TSS Jasmin Silva.

Learning about the FRB Dish with Derek Kubo.

JCMT Telescope Operator Featured on CBS “Mission Unstoppable”

JCMT Telescope System Specialist Mimi Fuchs is on the front page of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald  today showcasing her appearance in an episode of “Mission Unstoppable” on CBS. As well as being an operator at the JCMT Mimi is an IF/THEN Ambassador for the AAAS – The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Read the full Hawaii Tribune-Herald article here.

Watch the “Mission Unstoppable” segment here.

EAO and ‘Imiloa provide ‘Stellar’ Night to local Cub Scouts

On Saturday, March 7th, 2020, the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawai’i hosted 70 visitors for a special overnight event.  As part of the “Stellar Night at the Museum”, the Cub Scouts and their family members were treated to a unique visit at the East Asian Observatory base facility.

Courtesy photo provided to the Hawaii Tribune Herald from the Cub Scouts who attended the Scouts Stellar Night at the Museum overnight March 7 at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.


Telescope System Specialist, Alexis Acohido, provided tours into the JCMT Control Room as live operations were taking place. Photo taken by Emily Peavy.


Extended Operator, Patrice Smith, engaged the visitors with a fun “Alien Eyes” activity that demonstrated how filters can help us sort out information that we wouldn’t be able to normally see with our eyes. Photo taken by Emily Peavy.


EAO Visiting Scientist, Pablo Torne, used spectral tubes and diffraction gratings to explore spectral lines from different molecules. Photo taken by Emily Peavy.


In the UKIRT control room, Telescope Operators Jess Stasik and Michael Pohlen used an infrared camera and a cell phone to explore heat. Photo taken by Emily Peavy.

An article was released in the local Hawaii Tribune Herald newspaper about the event, and can be read here:


Explore the universe from home with Maunakea Observatories

This article appeared in the University of Hawai’i News on April 6th

In response to the interruption of hands-on science education and outreach during the COVID-19 crisis, the Maunakea Observatories (MKO) have unveiled a distance learning program, MKO@Home online. The virtual project consists of short weekly videos that feature astronomy related activities, demonstrations and interviews.

“The Maunakea Observatories recognize the severe educational difficulties that COVID-19 is creating for the community, and we are doing as much as we can to address this challenge. We are rallying all of our outreach resources and will be presenting as much content as possible during this unprecedented crisis,” said Bob McLaren, University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy interim director.

MKO@Home videos featuring scientists and educators are designed to allow K–12 students and families to explore the universe from home.

Content for the pilot program ranges from lessons on the night sky, to Pōwehi, the now-famous supermassive black hole. The cosmic wonder was given a name in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi or Hawaiian language by UH Hilo professor Larry Kimura. The name recognizes the instrumental role that observatories on Maunakea played in the worldwide effort to capture an image of a black hole for the first time in history.

Dr Harriet Parsons, presents “exploring Shadows” as part of MKO@Home

April 6–10, MKO@Home will celebrate Black Hole Week and feature demonstrations by Maunakea astronomers about the mysterious objects.

MKO@Home videos are uploaded three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

  • For more, go to Maunakea Observatories.
  • To watch all of the EAO videos on MKO@Home and more, visit our Videos page here.
  • Subscribe to the MKO@Home videos on the Maunakea Observatories YouTube Channel here.