Japan’s Subaru Telescope Donates $9,500 to UH Hilo’s Imiloa Astronomy Center

UH Release:

“Since the establishment of our local telescope facility in 1999, Subaru has been indebted to the people of the Big Island for their support of our mission, and we want to say thank you to the local community by helping to make it possible for local children to visit the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center at UH Hilo.” –Dr. Masahiko Hayashi, Director, Subaru Telescope

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HILO – UH Hilo’s ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i has received a generous donation of $9,500 from Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. The donation will support visits to the ‘Imiloa Center by K-12 schoolchildren and their teachers, as part of an ambitious two-year program through which ‘Imiloa is arranging programs for all public and private schools on the Big Island. The source of the gift was the Japan Foundation for the Promotion of Astronomy.

Subaru’s donation will be matched with another $19,000–effectively tripling the value of the gift–under the terms of a 2008 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Moore Foundation grant is assisting the center with its goal of reaching 100 percent of the island’s school-aged children, by bringing them to ‘Imiloa to experience its exhibits, planetarium and educational programs. Transportation to the Center, admission, and lunch are all provided thanks to the grant, making the field trip possible for students throughout the island. For every $1 of additional support which ‘Imiloa secures for the program, the Moore Foundation grant is providing $2.

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center has a special mission to engage youth in Hawai‘i, involving them in hands-on exploration of astronomy, together with Hawaiian language, navigational skills and indigenous culture. The resulting sense of pride and the interest in science and engineering that ‘Imiloa is instilling are critical tools for preparing local young people to participate in Hawai‘i’s 21st century economy. In pursuit of this mission, ‘Imiloa has set an aggressive goal of reaching all of Hawai‘i Island’s 30,000 K-12 schoolchildren through its educational programs over the next two years.

Subaru Telescope and its parent body, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, have made previous gifts to the ‘Imiloa Center, including the donation of a unique “4D2U” theatre exhibit on the origins of the universe and another exhibit on the history of the telescope. Subaru also sponsored a special planetarium show geared to children, “The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket,” and assisted with the creation and script for “Hawaii’s Observatories,” a 3D show in the planetarium.

‘Imiloa’s Associate Director Ka‘iu Kimura commented, “Support from Subaru Telescope is helping ‘Imiloa ensure that local children grow up understanding that successful participation in science and technology does not mean a rejection of their Hawaiian heritage but, indeed, underscores the unique values of that heritage.”

UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng added, “The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is very grateful for the leadership support of the Japan Foundation for the Promotion of Astronomy, which has been provided to our campus annually for the past nine years through Subaru Telescope and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.”

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