Monday, January 09, 2006

New 'Imiloa Astronomy Center in/on Hawaii

Some of my favorite interests in one of my very favorite places. 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii at the University of Hawaii at Hilo will open on February 23. Hilo is on the Big Island of Hawaii. Its name is Hawaii, but that's confusing so they call it "Big Island." For anyone interested in earth science the Big Island is hog heaven - Kilauea volcano has been active since 1983 only missing a few days in 22 years. And the summit of Mauna Kea is the best site in the world for telescopes, both visual and radio and there might be some other classification. You can't just drive to the top, but you can get there on a tour. The Honolulu Star Bulletin has the story:
When the $28 million, 42,000-square-foot 'Imiloa center opens to the public on Feb. 23, people will see more than the sun. They'll see the whole universe, and they'll see it in 3-D, said center Director Peter Giles. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan will have a permanent computer simulation, viewable with 3-D glasses, showing the origin of the universe in the big bang 13 billion years ago and continuing to the present day. Looking at the universe is what astronomy is about. But in the 1990s an awareness grew that astronomers were busy looking at the sky but failing to look at their feet -- at the summit land of Mauna Kea where 13 observatories stand. Awareness also grew that astronomers were looking back 13 billion years to the origins of the universe but failing to look back 2,000 years to the origins of Hawaiian culture. An idea was born to develop a Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center to show how the two cultures relate, how Polynesians from the South Pacific used their voyaging canoes to follow stars to Hawaii and how astronomers use their giant telescopes to follow paths of twinkling light into the distant past.
The 'Imiloa web site My web page on the Big Island.

No comments: