Telescope viewing suspended as protesters block Hawaii road
HONOLULU (AP) — Astronomers have indefinitely stopped looking through 13 existing telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii while protesters block the road downslope in an attempt to prevent the construction of a giant new observatory.
Dozens of researchers around the world won’t be able to gather data and study the skies as a result.
East Asian Observatory Deputy Director Jessica Dempsey says observations won’t resume until telescope staff have consistent access to the summit.
The announcement came after Native Hawaiian protesters blocked the base of the road for a second day Tuesday.
They oppose the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope out of concern it will harm an area some Native Hawaiians consider sacred.
The new telescope is expected to be one of the world’s most advanced when it’s built.