Reaching New Heights

Institute for Astronomy (IfA)

About IfA

IfA was founded at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) in 1967 to manage the Haleakalā Observatories on Maui and the Mauna Kea Observatories on the Big Island, and to carry out its own program of fundamental research into the stars, planets, and galaxies that make up our Universe. It has a total staff of over 300. Most staff are based at the IfA-Mānoa building on O‘ahu. Some are located on the neighbor islands, at the IfA-Hilo and IfA-Maui buildings. IfA is one of the world's leading astronomical research centers. Its broad-based program includes studies of the Sun, planets, and stars, as well as interstellar matter, galaxies, and cosmology.

Building on a Stellar Trajectory

Donors have been key partners in IfA’s stellar trajectory and continue to be a crucial component, helping IfA reach new heights.

2013 Highlights include:

  • The appearance of Comet Pan-STARRS, discovered by the IfA-built Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakalā.
  • The arrival of two new young and innovative faculty members: Jessica Lu in Mānoa, and Christoph Baranec in Hilo.
  • The construction of the Pan-STARRS 2 telescope, which is poised to begin operations to detect asteroids that could impact Earth.
  • The start of work on the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope on Haleakalā, which will be the world’s largest telescope dedicated to studying the Sun.
  •  Major events, including our Mānoa Open House, AstroDay in Hilo, and Comet Pan-STARRS public viewings, with thousands of attendees.
  • Public talks by world-renowned astronomers, including Jill Tarter and Ed Lu.

Many of these programs were made possible by generous gifts from our supporters.

Join Us

IfA has an incredible array of initiatives for 2014—and you can be a part of them!

  • Brand new astronomy and astrophysics undergraduate majors at UH Mānoa. These new programs, when combined with the existing UH Hilo program, will make UH one of the leading producers of astronomers in the United States.
  • A replacement for the Hoku Kea Observatory, a 36-inch telescope on Mauna Kea dedicated to the education of UH undergraduates.
  • The groundbreaking for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, with a major initiative to make IfA a full partner in the project.
  • A small robotic telescope on Haleakalā for K–12 education and outreach.
  • Increased outreach to schools and the public with a new suite of activities.

Make a Gift

We also have a large portfolio of specific programs for which we are seeking significant support.
If you would like to hear about these opportunities, or inquire about supporting a program that matches your interests, please contact:

Tim STim Szymanowski
Executive Director of Development – Mānoa
(808) 956-0843
For Our University, Our Hawai‘i, Our Future