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Lahaina Complex Tutor Project students visit Haleakala Observatories

By Staff | Nov 20, 2014

Thirty-three Lahaina Intermediate School students were rewarded with a trip to the Haleakala Observatories.

LAHAINA – Thirty-three students and seven chaperones in the Lahaina Complex Tutor Project at Lahaina Intermediate School recently visited the Haleakala Observatories. Students who had perfect attendance, actively participated in tutor classes and completed Practice at Home review exercises received this special field trip as an achievement award.

Thanks to the generosity of Roberts Hawaii, the group rode a luxurious coach up to the summit departing from Lahaina Intermediate School at noon and returning at 9:45 p.m.

Project organizers were assisted by Dr. James Armstrong from the University of Hawaii Maui College; Outreach Community members Dr. Jeremy Bos, Robert Hubbell and Dr. Joseph Janni; and Lt. Col. James Phillips and Capt. Curtis Peterson from the United States Air Force.

Leoda’s sandwiches were donated by Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu’s Aaron Trujillo. The evening concluded at the Institute for Astronomy in Pukalani with additional astronomy lessons and telescope viewing guided by volunteers from the Haleakala Amateur Astronomers.

Haleakala summit is one of the best locations in the world for ground-based telescopes. The observatories are operated by the University of Hawaii, United States Air Force, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network and others.

The tour of two remarkable observatories provided an incredible real-life learning experience for everyone. The Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Observatory with its Advanced Electro Optical System (AEOS) telescope tracks satellites that pass overhead.

The U.S. Department of Defense owns the AEOS telescope, which is the largest optical telescope in the world. The second, the FAULKS telescope, is the largest privately owned telescope on Maui. It is owned by the Las Cumbres Observatory, which provides research classes.

The students also learned that education is very important from Hubbell. He praised the students for attending after school tutoring and emphasized that there are many job opportunities for our local citizens. He suggested that students should consider working at the telescope facilities when they are prepared to enter the workforce.

Many parents expressed their appreciation. The parent of one of the students stated that her daughter, Lilinoa, learned so much and could not stop talking about the trip.

Additional Achievement Awards for students at LIS will be viewing the night sky at the Hyatt Regency Maui in December as part of the tutor project’s ongoing study of astronomy.