Tag Archives: Subaru Telescope

Hole in observatory door was not caused by bullet

Curiouser and curiouser: In a statement to the press the Subaru Telescope has said that the hole in its door was not caused by a bullet this past weekend but has been known about for months and was caused by wind banging the door against a piece of equipment.

But on Monday, the observatory said in a statement the hole was caused by strong wind swinging a metal door into an instrument fixture attached to a wall. “We at Subaru Telescope are relieved that this is the case and regret the confusion caused by earlier reports,” the statement said.

A detective investigated Monday and determined the hole from the bolt on the wall was there about six months, police said. The observatory’s statement says the day crews knew about the hole from a severe winter storm earlier this year. The observatory didn’t immediately explain why someone reported it to police Saturday night.

The contradictions between the story released today and what was revealed yesterday is quite stark. My guess would be that someone at the telescope, unaware of the hole previously, saw it this weekend and panicked, thinking it caused by a bullet and fearful because of the illegal presence of protesters on the road to the mountain. It is also possible that someone at the telescope saw the hole for the first time and wanted to smear the demonstrators. It is also possible that the rumor was spread by a demonstrator who wanted to smear the astronomers, knowing that the false story would be quickly uncovered.

I could speculate for hours, pointlessly. The bottom line is that the lack of good will from the demonstrators is successfully spreading the ill will to all sides.

Bullet hole found in Mauna Kea observatory

Even as protesters continue to block the roads to the top of Mauna Kea to prevent construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), workers at the Subaru Telescope at the mountain have reported a bullet hole in one door that had been put there sometime over the weekend.

No one knows who did it, or even if the hole was caused by a bullet, though that is what it looks like. The leader of the protests has of course denied any participation and condemned it.

I found this quote from the first link above (which spends a lot of time describing the heroic protesters who have been camping on the road) to be very revealing about this whole affair:

In an email Saturday, DLNR spokeswoman Deborah Ward said the area is not permitted for camping but did not respond to the Tribune-Herald’s questions about why the department has allowed the protesters to remain at the site. “Both state and county officials are monitoring the situation,” she wrote.

Gee, don’t we all remember how government officials turned a blind eye to tea party protests? Not! They did however allow illegal trespassing for Occupy Wall Street. In all these cases, the government officials reveal whose side they are on.

I personally think the astronomy community should organize a boycott of tourism to Hawaii. If their island is so sacred that outsiders shouldn’t be there, maybe we should hold them to their word. We would then find out how serious they really are about the island’s sacredness.

The Subaru telescope in Hawaii has taken an image of an exoplanet.

The Subaru telescope in Hawaii has taken an image of an exoplanet.

The press release is not clear, but I think this is an image in optical wavelengths, which I also think is a first.

Update: on further research, it turns out the image is in the infrared, not optical. Nonetheless, it is a remarkable image, and will make possible some interesting spectroscopic research.