Astronomical Shifts

L'anthropologie, et le reste

August has been an astronomy-heavy month. Last week, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case contesting the approval of the conservation district use application (CDUA) for the Thirty Meter Telescope. The hearing came as the protectors of Mauna a Wākea have entered their 6th month blocking Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) construction on the sacred mountain following the controversial permit approval for the project. Protectors have cited decades of mismanagement by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and violations of a number of state laws and procedures regarding leasing of state lands, construction in conservation zones, and Hawaiian cultural rights, among other issues.

Not long before the Supreme Court hearing was held, the two-week long International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) XXIX General Assembly came to a close in Honolulu. This gathering in particular brought me a mixture of despair, hope, perspective, and resolve in regard to the many…

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