Pacific / Hawaii

Dozens protest construction of giant Hawaii telescope

13:13 pm on 15 July 2019

Dozens of people have gathered on a mountain considered sacred to native Hawaiians to protest against the construction of a giant telescope.

Photo: TMT International Observatory

Construction is due to start tomorrow on a US$1.4 billion 30-metre telescope at the top of Mauna Kea, which is renowned in scientific communities for the clarity of its views of outer space.

But it's also sacred to native Hawaiians, who said astronomers have for decades trampled on sacred grounds and burial sites with little respect.

Its construction was approved by Hawaii's top court in November after years of legal challenges.

This weekend, the chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs wrote a last-minute letter to the state's governor, David Ige, demanding a halt to construction to "avoid harm to Native Hawaiians".

That's unlikely to succeed, with Mr Ige a supporter of the telescope project.