During the last thirty years, the state of Hawai‘i has become the most sought-after location in the world for the construction of large ground-based telescopes. The focal points for this construction are the 3,000-meter peak of Haleakalā on Maui and the 4,200-meter peak of Maunakea on the island of Hawai‘i (the “Big Island”). The remarkable clarity, dryness, and stillness of the air above these isolated high-altitude sites led to the commissioning by the University of Hawai‘i first of the Mees Solar Observatory at Haleakalā on the island of Maui in 1963 and then of the 2.2-meter Telescope on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai‘i in 1970.

Our locations

The Hawaiian Islands (Hawaiian: Mokupuni o Hawai’i) are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) from the island of Hawaiʻi in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll. The offices, observatories, labs, classrooms of the IfA span three of them.

IfA Manoa

Although they primarily observe from  Mauna Kea  or Haleakalā , most UH astronomers are based at the IfA headquarters building in the part of Honolulu known as Mānoa Valley, near the main campus of the University of Hawai‘i on the island of O‘ahu

IfA Maui

On Maui, the IfA operates the Advanced Technology Research Center, for support of its Haleakalā activities. The building includes laboratory workspace for microfabrication and advanced metrology, and optical/infrared sensor development. 

IfA Hilo

A sea-level facility in Hilo on the island of Hawai‘i houses part of the IfA’s faculty and staff, with an emphasis on the support of Maunakea telescope operations. It also houses research groups involved in the development of adaptive optics and infrared detectors.


Big Island







PS, ATLAS, Mees, Solar C


Big Island



Solar, Atmospheric research,USGS

Institute for Astronomy

We are one of the largest university astronomy programs in the world.