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Caltech will shut down Mauna Kea observatory early

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    This 2011 file artist rendering provided by Thirty Meter Telescope, shows the Thirty Meter Telescope. Aside from the ongoing standstill atop Mauna Kea, those behind the Thirty Meter Telescope are moving forward with the $1.4 billion project.

HILO >> One observatory atop Mauna Kea will shut down ahead of schedule, falling short of 30 years exploring the skies.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the California Institute of Technology announced Friday that it will close the facility in September. It was initially slated for closure next year.

Caltech Submillimeter Observatory technical operations manager Simon Radford says the telescope has a successful history and has been part of many discoveries, including some related to the formation of stars.

The announcement came three days after Gov. David Ige said he would like to see better stewardship on the Hawaii mountain, including the decommissioning of at least three of the 13 telescopes before the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope is constructed.

Caltech plans to return the site to its natural state by 2018.

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