2023-09-22: Caltech Telescope Removed; Deconstruction to Begin

Hilo, Hawai‘i – September 22, 2023 – Earlier this month, the 34-foot diameter telescope was removed from the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory dome on Maunakea.

“After much logistical planning, we successfully removed the telescope from the observatory building, allowing deconstruction of the buildings to begin,” Caltech physics professor and Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) Director Sunil Golwala said. “The telescope is being packed for shipment to Chile, where we anticipate it will continue to contribute to the field of astronomy,” said Golwala. Pictures of the telescope removal can be found here.

Deconstruction of the site infrastructure will start September 25th and will continue next year after a break for winter weather. “This fall, demolition of the interior of the observatory building will begin and the cesspool will be pumped out,” said Golwala. Next spring and summer, above-ground structures and below-ground infrastructure will be removed and site restoration will occur.

“In accordance with the permits guiding the decommissioning, cultural, construction and archeological monitors have been and will be present at all appropriate phases,” said Golwala. A cultural monitor conducted an orientation for the telescope removal teams and will do one for the deconstruction teams prior to their arrival on site. In late August, a blessing was performed at the site to mark the decommissioning, with representatives of Caltech and Center for Maunakea Stewardship in attendance. According to Golwala, “Caltech is very grateful for the time we had on Maunakea and is committed to restoring the site to the fullest extent allowed under our permits.”

The cost of deconstruction and site restoration is expected to exceed $4 million and is being funded primarily by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, while the removal of the telescope for reuse is being funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

More information on the decommissioning, including all related planning documents and permits can be found here: http://www.cso.caltech.edu/wiki/cso/outreach/outreach.

The CSO came online in 1987 and was used by scientists at Caltech and other institutions, including almost 200 student and postdoctoral researchers, to open a new submillimeter window on the universe. A summary of CSO’s contributions to astronomy and astronomical instrumentation are available here: http://www.cso.caltech.edu/wiki/cso/science/overview.

About Caltech: Caltech is a world-renowned private science and engineering Institute located in Pasadena, California, that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges.

B-Roll: Video Footage of the Telescope removal is available on request to Media Contact.

Media Contact:

Dana E. Butler
Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company
Phone: (808) 959-0797

cso/outreach/2023-09-22.txt · Last modified: 2023-09-24 04:45 by admin
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