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CFHT’s Outreach efforts on Lānaʻi

Presentation #231.08 in the session Education and Public Engagement.

Published onJul 01, 2023
CFHT’s Outreach efforts on Lānaʻi

As part of its outreach and public education commitment, the Canada France Hawai’i Telescope (CFHT) encourages its staff to engage in the community through various programs and events. CFHT has been involved in outreach on Lānaʻi Island for a few years. This poster presents the small island of Lānaʻi, some of the activities CFHT has been involved in, and the challenges of doing outreach on an isolated and remote island. Lānaʻi Island is the 6th smallest Hawaiian Island. With only one town, one gas station, one hardware store, and a couple of grocery stores, it has a population of only about 3200. The Lānaʻi Elementary and High School has about 570 students. This community presents unique outreach challenges- getting there requires taking a ferry from Maui or taking a small 10-seat Cessna plane from Honolulu, with limited accommodations available on the island. Despite this, CFHT has been involved in outreach for several years, through activities such as the Maunakea Scholars program, star parties, school visits, and, most recently, helping one of the teachers with a ham radio contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The ham radio contact required about a year of preparation and planning, mostly done by the teacher at Lānaʻi and a mentor at Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). Prior to the contact, students learn about ham radio, and one of the CFHT astronomers, who is also a ham radio operator, developed ham radio and astronomy related STEM activities in preparation for the contact. During one of the visits, the astronomer talked to about a quarter of the students at the school about astronomy and ham radio. The ham radio contact was successful, and in an HPR interview of one of the students, you could see that this experience is inspiring students into considering STEM related fields.

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