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The Perseids 2023: Three-Days Special Live Streaming from Maunakea, Hawai`i

September 13, 2023
Last updated: September 21, 2023

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and the Asahi Shimbun Newspaper Company teamed up to conduct a special starry sky live-streaming event from the summit area of Maunakea on the Big Island of Hawai`i, for three days including the peak day of the Perseid meteor shower. Through our live streaming, a total of over 650,000 viewers enjoyed the breathtaking night sky and the meteor shower.

The Perseids 2023: Three-Days Special Live Streaming from Maunakea, Hawai`i Figure

A bright Perseid meteor flies behind the enclosure of the Subaru Telescope. This view was captured by a live camera that was temporarily set up for the event. (Credit: NAOJ and Asahi Shimbun)

We installed a temporary live-streaming camera for this event, in addition to the existing live camera which views the eastern sky from the Subaru Telescope catwalk (Note 1). This temporary camera was installed in a position that can see the Subaru Telescope dome and the southern sky (Figure 1), allowing visitors to enjoy a wider range of the starry sky than usual. Moreover, we upgraded both systems to stream live in 4K format starting from this occasion.

Furthermore, we conducted a special live streaming of the night sky on August 12, the peak day of the meteor shower, from a facility for Maunakea Observatories, Hālepohaku, located at an altitude of around 2,800 meters on Maunakea (Figure 2). In this special live streaming, the viewers enjoyed a beautiful view of Maunaloa in the evening sky before it got dark. During the special live event, we invited three distinguished experts from Japan via the Zoom meeting system for a talk show, with Mr. Higashiyama of Asahi Shimbun as a host.

The Perseids 2023: Three-Days Special Live Streaming from Maunakea, Hawai`i Figure2

Figure 2: The view from the special live-streaming camera at Hālepohaku captures Maunaloa in the evening twilight. The lights below belong to visitors at the Onizuka Visitor Center, which is located near Hālepohaku. A time-lapse version of this view is available from this link. (Credit: NAOJ and Asahi Shimbun)

The invited guest speakers included Mikiya Sato (NAOJ), a leading expert on meteor shower forecasting in Japan; Takeshi Inoue, the director of the Akashi Municipal Astronomical Science Museum and a leading expert in astronomy public relations and promotion; and Masanori Iye, Professor Emeritus of NAOJ, who has made significant contributions to Japanese astronomical research and the construction of the Subaru Telescope. All of them are specialists in their respective fields. Each talk reflected their unique expertise, making them quite interesting. If you haven't heard them yet, you can watch the archives (sorry but they are all in Japanese).

The University of Hawai`i Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS) and Maunakea Support Services, both responsible for the management of Maunakea, were also instrumental in this special live streaming. Nahua Guilloz, the director of CMS, provided the following comments to us.

"Subaru Telescope provided an exceptional experience for tens of thousands of people across the globe giving them the opportunity to take in one of the best viewing locations in the world without having to actually travel to Maunakea. As stewards of these significant lands, it is a privilege to engage in the preservation of such an unparalleled place that hosts world-class astronomy research."

You can watch archived videos from the three-day live-streaming event on the "Asahi Astro LIVE" YouTube channel by Asahi Shimbun. This includes a special live session at Hālepohaku. Particularly during the early morning hours, when the radiant point of the Perseid meteor shower is at its peak in the sky, you can witness numerous meteors. If you missed it, please enjoy the stunning views of the meteor shower in the archived videos below. The date indicates the video's start date in Hawaiian time, with the video's duration noted in parentheses.

Regular Subaru-Asahi Star Camera (viewing the Eastern sky and the Maunakea Observatories)
August 11 (11:07:10)
August 12 (11:43:05)
August 13 (11:47:12)

Special Southern Sky Live Camera (viewing the dome of the Subaru Telescope)
August 11 (11:08:40)
August 12 (11:30:54)
August 13 (11:54:05)

Hālepohaku Special Live Streaming Camera (including the dialogue sessions in Japanese)
August 12 (10:05:10)

(Note 1) The Subaru Telescope's catwalk is a work corridor located outside the dome at a height of 14 meters above the ground.

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