(BIVN) – “I picked the best days for observing,” said astronomer Thayne Currie about his scheduled telescope time, reserved months ago. The run starts tomorrow; the same day construction on the Thiry Meter Telescope is set to begin.
“We understand that a law enforcement has a difficult job to do and this is a complicated situation,” Currie said about the possible police interaction with opposition to the TMT project planned for Mauna Kea. “We don’t want to interfere. We want to minimize the level of which we possibly complicate this situation as much as possible,” he said.
Currie will be doing his observing remotely, “largely due to safety,” he said.
“I’m observing with Subaru,” Currie said. “The standard is, typically, to go up to the summit. There’s less oxygen and sometimes it can be a little bit rough on the body, but I also think you lose a little bit of the experience if you don’t physically go up there.”
“I think we’re just waiting to see what happens with with law enforcement,” said Currie, who is an active supporter of TMT. “I mean, we know last time the situation was was fairly chaotic. It was a little bit unclear exactly what was going on from from everybody’s standpoint. One day we had people blocking the road and asking us whether or not we were affiliated with with TMT or not. Another time, you had some some workers… again, who were just trying to do their jobs, come down from the mountain – or, wanting to come down – and there are boulders in the road, or rocks in the road. So, that makes a lot of people feel a little bit on edge.”
Currie said he believes law enforcement is “substantially more organized this time”.
He also says “we should respect the rights of people to protest, to have assembly, to do that peacefully. And I do see some signs of that happening, at least so far with the mayor visiting Puʻu Huluhulu.”
“Every possible issue that you could think of raising has been raised,” Currie said of the continued opposition to the TMT. “I think the community at large is just tired. They’re like, look, let’s move on. Let’s have the telescope.”
“It may get ugly for a while,” Currie said of the construction project. “I really hope it doesn’t. I really hope that law enforcement is just able to ensure access and we’re done with it. But regardless of whether that happens –
whether it gets a little bit ugly – this is the community’s telescope. Even for people who oppose it now,” he said.