Back to the Big Island for Waiakea High School
March 13, 2018: After awarding telescope time on Maui and Oahu, we came back to the Big Island to continue our Maunakea Scholars awards season with a visit to Waiakea High School in Hilo. “Waiakea High School was one of the two schools that piloted the Maunakea Scholars program in our first year, so the school holds a special place in our hearts” said Mary Beth Laychak, outreach manager for the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. “Each year the students propose new ideas based on the hottest topics in astronomy like the search for extrasolar planets, planetary science and the black holes.”
Unique to Waiakea, the students present a brief overview of their proposal to their peers during the awards ceremony. One student, Jax Arruda, used the opportunity to recite a rap he wrote about his topic, the planet Mars.
My name is Jax and here’s is the facts,
I want to tell you what I learned in science class,
Mars is far, among the stars,
but I want to find out if i can fill water jar.
The Doppler effect tries to reveal
The water that Mars conceals.
High altitude shows hydrogen there,
so that must mean water or ice are more than a prayer.
Jessica Stasik, graduate student at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, and Mimi Fuchs, telescope operator at the Submillimter Array, mentored the students over the course of the school year, helping them refine their projects. “The students brought a refreshing enthusiasm and creativity to their proposals” said Stasik. “Working with them was a complete joy.”
The Waiakea Maunakea Scholars Award Winners include:
- “Supernova iPTF14hls- The Immortal Star” by Dustin Malasemal and Blane DeReis. Blane and Dustin will use the Las Cumbres Observatory to observe a supernova that defies expectations and keeps exploding.
- “How Does a Star Die” by Micah Yokomizo. Micah will use the Las Cumbres Observatory to compare the spectra of different types of stars to determine their ultimate fate.
- “Why do Medium stars collapse into white dwarfs and large stars Supernova” by Alena Soares. Alena will use the Las Cumbres Observatory to compare large and small stars to determine the differences between those that supernova and those that end up as white dwarfs.
- “Jupiter’s Red Spot” by Issac Pauole and Jacob Pauole. Issac and Jacob will use the NASA IRTF to study Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a hurricane in the planet’s atmosphere.
- “Galaxy Colors” by Lana Nihipoli. Lana will use the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope to study the different regions of galaxy star formation vs cooler older stellar populations.
- “Neptune” by Aminda Rechy. Aminda