Maunakea Summer School

The Dunlap Institute’s Maunakea Summer School offers upper-year undergraduate and junior graduate students the opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like to conduct science at some of the world’s premier observatories.

The new generation of scientists is often not directly exposed to the real world of data acquisition and instrumentation at a telescope. Efforts like the Maunakea Summer School help ensure that Canadian observatories keep their leadership position in the world by fostering the next generation of Canadian astronomers.

Students accepted into the school visit the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), Gemini Observatory, and other Maunakea observatories in Hawaii where they learn first hand about the latest astronomical methods and instrumentation. They participate directly in observing and data-processing, and they learn how the observatories operate from technical staff and scientists.

Students are selected from participants in the previous year’s Dunlap Institute annual Introduction to Astronomical Instrumentation Summer School—an intensive one-week program that provides instruction through lectures, hands-on labs, and professional development sessions. To be eligible for the Mauna Kea school, student must also be enrolled in a Canadian institution and be able to travel to the U.S.

The Maunakea summer school was initiated by Prof. Stéphane Courteau, Queen’s University, in 2010. Previous realizations were made possible through the Cave endowed funds in the Physics Department at Queen’s University and Courteau’s own NSERC (Discovery Grant).

Today, the Maunakea Summer School is made possible through the support of the Dunlap Institute, as well as the CFHT and Gemini Observatories.

For more on the 2016 school, visit the Dunlap students’ blog, Observations.

2016 Participants:

Ariel Amaral
University of Toronto

Nicholas Fantin
University of Victoria

Colleen Gilhuly
Queen’s University

Christine Hall
Queen’s University

Kevin McKinnon
Queen’s University

Ayushi Singh
University of Toronto

Group selfie and tscope

Group selfie with one of the Keck telescope primary mirrors. Image: Arial Amaral


Gemini data

Taking data at Gemini Observatory.



Canada France Hawaii Telescope. Image: CFHT