Dedication Ceremony - Mauna Kea - 28 September 1979
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Canadian, French and Hawaiian flags are displayed in the CFHT dome

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Event description: Excerpt from the CFHT Bulletin #2 (December 1979)

Some 160 visitors, many from thousands of miles away, made the trek up Mauna Kea for the dedication ceremony on 28 September, 1979. It was a typical beautiful Hawaiian day as the caravan of close to 40 four-wheel drive vehicles moved slowly up the dusty and winding road to the top, passing through the lunar-like landscape of the mountain slopes.

Inside the observatory, the elegant apparatus awaiting the visitors resembled something "out of James Bond movie" as Governor Ariyoshi put it. But the staging that day was strictly Hawaiian. The massive, gleaming new telescope was attached to the mezzanine deck by long strands of vanda orchids intertwined with maile leaves and dozens of colorful anthuriums blazed at its foot: the sound of conch shell trumpeted over the intercom system. The dome was open to the rarefied air and the flags of Canada, France, Hawaii and the United States fluttered now and then.

The untying  of the three lei strands capped the dedication ceremony which included the playing of the  national anthems, official speeches by Professor Charles Fehrenbach,chairman of the CFHT Board, Roch LaSalle, Canada's  minister of Supplies and Services,  Pierre Aigrain, France's minister or Research, and Hawaii's Governor George Ariyoshi, and a benediction by a Hawaiian priest.

Later at a prime rib and French wine luncheon in Waimea, dignitaries toasted the project and Nobel laureate Dr. Gerhard Herzberg praised the new site and the "endeavors of those that try to understand the universe and the nature and role of man in it".


Credit line: "Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope / 2004"
Copyright © 1979/2004 Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation