About Us

The IfA REU program provides undergraduates who are considering a career in science with the opportunity to engage in research with professional astronomers working on cutting-edge problems in astrophysics. The REU students will be full-time research assistants to a faculty mentor at the Institute and will work on specific aspects of an ongoing research program.

The REU is part of the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii

The Institute for Astronomy (IfA) was founded at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) in 1967 to manage the Haleakalā Observatories on Maui and the Mauna Kea Observatories on the Big Island, and to carry out its own program of fundamental research into the stars, planets, and galaxies that make up our Universe. One of eleven research institutes within the University of Hawai‘i, it has a total staff of over 300, including about 55 faculty. Most staff are based at our IfA-Mānoa building, located in the city of Honolulu on the island of O‘ahu. Some are located on the neighbor islands, at our IfA-Hilo and IfA-Maui buildings.The Institute has an annual budget of $20 million, including $15 million in grants from the federal government.

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.


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 Mauna Kea 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.

The Advanced Technology Research Center, Maui

“Maikalani” literally means “from the heavens” but also has the cultural meaning “things we gain from the cosmos.” The building serves as the main facility for the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy on Maui. 


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


The Hilo base facility of the Institute for Astronomy in the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo University Research Park supports the Institute’s telescope operations on Mauna Kea and provides expansion space for its technology and instrumentation development, teaching, and outreach programs. 

Things to Do

Home to the world’s most active volcanoes, the only royal palace in the U.S. and the welcoming aloha spirit—Hawaii is like no place on earth. Discover the glimmering ocean, emerald valleys and golden sands; get lost in the spiritual beauty of the hula and find out how the warmth of Hawaii’s people wonderfully complement the islands’ perfect temperatures. While you are here you can explore the Islands of Aloha.


Road to Hana

Iolani Palace


Haleakala Crater



Tropical Paradise