Amid protest, Hawaii astronomers lose observation time

HONOLULU (AP) — Astronomers across 11 observatories on Hawaii’s tallest mountain have cancelled more than 2,000 hours of telescope viewing over the past four weeks because a protest blocked a road to the summit.

The lost research atop Mauna Kea includes work on clouds of gas and dust on the verge of forming stars, and asteroids that might come close or even hit Earth.

Mauna Kea is one of the world’s premier sites for studying the skies.

Native Hawaiian protesters are blocking the road to prevent the construction of another telescope, which they fear will further harm a peak they consider sacred.

Astronomers said Friday they will attempt to resume observations but in some cases won’t be able to make up the missed research. Protesters say they shouldn’t be blamed for the shutdown.

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