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Land Board approves Haleakala Management Plan and ATST

Posted December 8, 2010, 07:00 AM HST Updated December 9, 2010, 11:29 AM HST
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The Management Plan for the University of Hawaii’s Haleakala High Altitude Observatory Site was approved by the state land board this month. The plan serves as the guiding document for the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy’s management of the 18-acre site.

ATST Solar Telescope Construction Rendering. Courtesy: LeEllen Phelps.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources also approved a Conservation District Use Permit for the world’s largest solar telescope. The $298 million Advanced Technology Solar Telescope is proposed for construction atop Haleakala on Maui. The permit defines the terms and conditions for the construction and operation of the device.

Researchers say studies could provide clues on the origin and development of solar storms that can affect life on earth. Construction is projected to start in 2011 with the telescope becoming operational in 2017.

“December 1 was an important day with a very important decision,” said IfA Director Dr. Rolf-Peter Kudritzki. “This is a milestone for future astronomy in Hawaii, and also for education in Hawaii due to the unprecedented commitment by the NSF to make available $20 million over ten years for an education program at UH Maui College that will cultivate and reinforce the intersection of Hawaiian culture and knowledge with science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Kudritzki.

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There were more than 50 formal and informal meetings and consultations associated with the plan, the CDUP, and their accompanying environmental documents.

(Posted by Wendy Osher, supporting information courtesy UH Institute for Astronomy)

*** If you enjoyed this post, you may also like our story on the First Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Discovered with a Maui Telescope.

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