Since summer 2018, the iREx is proud to be associated with the Maunakea Graduate School (MKGS). The goal of this school is to allow graduate students from Canadian institutions to learn more about observational astronomy and the operation of large telescopes on site in Hawai’i.
The school, aimed at graduate students from Canadian institutions, is the result of a unique partnership between iREx, Queen’s University, the Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope (CFHT) and the Gemini Observatory. Other observatories located at the top of Maunakea are also participating in this school: the W. M. Keck Observatory, the Subaru Telescope and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. The purpose of the school is to take participants to large observatories in Hawai’i, on the Big Island atop Maunakea, to learn about the operation of these large observatories. Indeed, most graduate students these days do not have the chance to go to the telescope themselves to get data. The MKGS wants to fill this gap by allowing students to visit the operations offices of the Gemini-North Observatory and the CFHT, as well as to visit some of the telescopes on top of Maunakea.
Under the supervision of professional astronomers including Stéphane Courteau of Queen’s University and iREx researchers, the selected students design science proposals for which they are given observing time to observe the programs during the visit. They learn more about astronomical instruments, the operation of large observatories, and Hawai’ian culture. The selected Canadian cohort typically consists of five or six students. In some years, students from other countries join the Canadian cohort for a portion of the school.
The Maunakea Graduate School is on indefinite hiatus due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We will make an announcement if we have the opportunity to restart this program.