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Pacific Astronomy Summit Blog #3

One of our students shares her experiences.
The trip to Hawaii has been an amazing experience!  I have met so many new people and am making connections around the globe. Today we had the chance to listen to all of the science presentations. Each presentation was extremely different and they covered many aspects of astronomy. We worked as a team and presented the construction and future plans for our radio telescope. Our project was well received and seemed to be more technical than most of the others. After this, we listened to a talk from a lady who was a part of the management team for Mauna Kea. It was interesting to learn about all the different factors that must be considered when a company or country is considering building a telescope on top of this mountain. These factors include, land regulations between the scientists and native Hawaiians and the habitat of the endangered bug that lives on the mountain. After building our own telescopes, we made the long journey from sea level to 9000 feet, the visitor center on Mauna Kea. We ate dinner with some of the astronomers working on the mountain, and then climbed to the top of a peak to watch the sunset. This was by far the highlight of the day.  We took goofy photos with our new friends and had a ton of fun! After, we scrambled down the hill (in the dark) to look at the stars and we saw an absolutely incredible night sky. We used our new telescopes and larger ones from the University of Hawaii’s Astronomy Club. I have never seen the Milky Way as bright as it was tonight. The day was finished off with the long ride back to the hotel eating freeze dried ice cream (made by NASA) and spending time with our new friends! The trip has been amazing and I am so grateful for the opportunity!
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.