Scientists denied access to existing observatories

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii protests against construction of a giant telescope have halted work at existing observatories on the Big Island.

Hawaii News Now reported Sunday that workers at other facilities on the dormant Mauna Kea volcano have been denied access by demonstrators opposed to the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Officials say 13 telescopes at the Mauna Kea Observatories have led to breakthroughs in astronomy for more than 40 years, including the first photo of a black hole and the discovery of the first interstellar object in space.

Scientists say the two-week closure of the access road leading to the summit has resulted in the potential loss of a year’s worth of discoveries.

Demonstrators oppose construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope they say could further damage land considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians.