Home Sweet Hale

E komo mai! (Welcome!)

ʻO Heather Kaluna koʻu inoa (my name is Heather Kaluna). I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, my undergraduate alma matter. I earned a MS and PhD in Astronomy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Due to my connection to our moana (ocean), my research interests focus on studying wai i ka lewa (water in space) and the potential origin sources of wai honua (Earth's water).

Current Projects

Kilo Mahina

In 2009, three spacecraft each independently conducted near-IR observations of the Moon and found evidence of surface water and hydroxyl. Although there is agreement that detectable amounts of water/hydroxyl is present on the lunar surface, it is still unclear as to whether the water/hydroxyl varies in abundance throughout the lunar day. Thus, I have been collaborating with researchers at UH Mānoa and NASA's Johnson Space Center to conduct ground-based observations of the Moon to further study the distribution and temporal nature of lunar water and/or hydroxyl. The observations are being conducted using the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Maunakea, and the observations are providing us with an ideal spatial and spectral resolution to investigate this phenomena.

Current Service and Committee Roles:

  • Importance of Place, Strategic Doing Committee - UH Hilo

  • NASA IRTF/Keck User Working Group member

  • Resilience Action Team member (Built + Natural Environment RCAs), Kīlauea Eruption Recovery

  • Board Secretary, PUEO, a non-profit & education advocacy organization

  • LUMA member