Astronomy ‘futurecast’: Director of Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope looks ahead during next Maunakea Skies talk

  • The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Maunakea continues to be at the forefront of future astronomical discoveries.

    Courtesy photo

  • Doug Simons

The diversity of modern-day astronomy research is astonishing. Fueled by exponential advancements in technology — our understanding of everything from the sun, planets and the Big Bang — to the fundamental nature of space itself is growing rapidly.

Doug Simons, executive director at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, will talk about future astronomical discoveries at 7 p.m. Friday during the next Maunakea Skies presentation at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.


Instead of highlighting past research, Simons will focus on anticipated future discoveries, many linked to observations from Maunakea. Simons will explain how astronomy is driven and limited by technology.

Although forecasting future discoveries in detail can be fraught with uncertainties, important developments in the next decade in astronomy are visibly on the horizon. Major advancements in understanding dark matter and energy, black holes, the first stars in the universe, whether or not we live in a multiverse, whether life exists beyond Earth or even “new physics” are all speeding our way.

“Context is crucial for our species. Knowing how we ‘fit’ into a bigger picture has been a driving characteristic of humanity for millennia,” Simons said. “Astronomy provides us with many of the pieces needed to fill in that bigger picture. The discoveries lining up along the road ahead in astronomy are simply stunning.”

Simons received his bachelor of science degree in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in 1985 and received his Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Hawaii in 1990. He worked as a staff astronomer at CFHT for four years and later returned in 2012 to lead operations.

He also serves on the Maunakea Management Board, the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and the Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training boards.

Simons is an avid supporter of education and community outreach and has helped develop numerous programs, including EnVision Maunakea, Maunakea Fund and Maunakea Scholars.

Hosted by planetarium technician Emily Peavy, ‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawaii, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year.


Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for ‘Imiloa members (member-level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 932-8901.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place at the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park. For more information, visit