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Subaru Telescope: Dent in observatory door not a bullet hole

  • A series of photos shows the hole that was discovered in the door of the Subaru Telescope building. (Courtesy Nobuo Arimoto)

Turns out that what appeared to be a bullet hole in the door of the Subaru Observatory on Mauna Kea is not a bullet hole after all.

The observatory announced Monday that the hole was actually created after wind from a storm months ago knocked the door into an intake manifold cover on the opposite wall.

The dent created by the intake manifold cover was discovered Saturday and reported to the police as a possible bullet hole.

But Nobuo Arimoto, director of the Subaru Telescope said Monday that the observatory’s day crews knew about the hole following a severe winter storm several months ago.

“The wrap around effect of the wind could be very severe at times, which can swing the heavy metal door to create this kind of dent on the door,” Arimoto said in a statement.

A detailed inspection of the hole early Monday morning confirmed a match between the hole and the intake manifold cover

“We at Subaru Telescope are relieved that this is the case and regret the confusion caused by earlier reports,” he said.

The Hawaii County Police Department, which had investigated the incident as a first degree reckless endangering case, announced Monday afternoon that the case is now closed.

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