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Günther Hasinger

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From the Director

Dear Friends of the Institute for Astronomy,

It was only a few years ago that many professional astronomers considered extragalactic astronomy—the study of the Universe outside our Milky Way galaxy—the hot topic, and planetary research not so interesting. But that has changed with the discovery of what are called extrasolar planets, that is, planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. In addition to the hundreds of extrasolar planets found by ground-based astronomers, the Kepler spacecraft has found over 2,300 planet candidates and so far confirmed 61 of them, so this field is growing at an explosive rate.

IfA already has several faculty members who work on planetary science, including studies of our own solar system (see the articles “Earth’s Other Moons” and “Potentially Habitable Planet Found Orbiting Nearby Star” in this issue). Now many up-and-coming astronomers are choosing to study planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond.

We recently advertised two junior faculty positions and were overwhelmed by the number (almost 250) of excellent applications we received. It is clear that astronomers see the IfA as an attractive place to work. We invited and interviewed nine top candidates. Several of them were interested in extrasolar planets, and we have made offers to two of these. We are convinced that the results of this recruitment will give the IfA a chance to excel in this area of astronomy even more than we already do.

Günther Hasinger
Director, Institute for Astronomy


Annual IfA Open House on Sunday, April 29

Join us for the IfA Mānoa Open House, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Mānoa.

Activities, talks, displays, and demonstrations for all ages. Free admission and parking.



Potentially Habitable Planet Found Orbiting Nearby Star
Earth’s Other Moons
A Day in the Life of IfA’s Maui Laboratories

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