Clintons visit Maunakea in January

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Hillary and Bill Clinton visit Maunakea in January. Courtesy of University of Hawaii.
From left to right: Maunakea Ranger Tommy Waltjen, former President Bill Clinton, Maunakea Support Services General Manager Stewart Hunter, former University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy Director Guenther Hasinger, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chief Ranger Scotty Paiva, and Office of Maunakea Management Director Stephanie Nagata. Courtesy of UH.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the summit of Maunakea in January, the University of Hawaii said in a newsletter.

The Clintons were accompanied by UH and Office of Maunakea Management staff, and learned about the cultural, natural and scientific significance of the mountain, the university said.

They also toured the W.M. Keck Observatory and watched the sunset from the summit before returning to Halepohaku for stargazing where two 9.25-inch telescopes were setup.

“We showed them the Orion nebula, Pleiades open cluster and Andromeda galaxy, and towards the end, Mrs. Clinton chose a couple of objects and moved the telescope herself,” Marianne Takamiya, UH-Hilo astronomy chair, said in a statement.

She hosted stargazing along with UH astronomer Mark Chun, Waiakea High School senior Alicia Chun and UH-Hilo astronomy student Mitchel Rudisel.

“It was a pleasure welcoming Bill and Hillary Clinton to Keck Observatory,” Director Hilton Lewis said in the statement. “We had keen conversations about the well-being of science in the current national and international landscape. They shared their deep and abiding appreciation for the importance of science, for our national well being and for the benefit of all humankind, something we at the observatory resonate with.”