Astronomy Education Committee
Many experts consider Mauna Kea to be the finest location for land-based astronomy in the world – or at least the best in the northern hemisphere. Its summit rises 13,796 feet above sea level – well above the clouds, which tend to settle at around the 9,000-foot level. As a result, astronomers are afforded clear viewing for more than 300 days out of each year. Situated on an island in the middle of the Pacific, Mauna Kea is well buffered by thousands of miles of ocean with little of the air and light pollution that plague other locales.
The presence of many of the world’s most sophisticated astronomical facilities presents world-class educational opportunities as well. MKMB’s Astronomy Education Committee seeks to maximize these opportunities by encouraging the interaction between astronomers and the local community. Astronomy Education Committee members include: Jim Beletic, David Byrne, Heather Cole, Christine Copes, Richard Crowe, Janice Jenner, Alice Kawakami, Jim Kennedy, Peter Michaud, Andrew Perala, Barbara Robertson, Ian Shelton, Dolly Strazar, Nancy Tashima, and OMKM outreach officer Arnold Hiura.
The Astronomy Education Committee meeting provides an opportunity for all participants to share the educational objectives and activities of their respective organizations. There are many educational projects and programs aimed at offering astronomy and space science opportunities for Big Island students and teachers.
Astronomy Education Committee members agreed that there was a need for improved communication to share information and resources that are already available. A “clearinghouse,” or centralized source for all astronomy and space-related education programs, would also help groups to form alliances and partnerships, and serve to avoid duplication of efforts.