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Aug 17 16

Free ‘Imiloa Membership for all UH Hilo and HCC Students

by Brea Aamoth

‘Imiloa is excited to announce that we are offering FREE memberships to all registered UH Hilo students and all HCC students! This free membership includes unlimited regular daily shows in our full-dome planetarium, full access to our interactive exhibit hall and discounts to events. Members can also take advantage of discounts at Sky Garden Restaurant and in our Museum Store.

Whether you are majoring in a natural or social science, in one of the liberal arts, or in a professional program, you’re sure to find an exhibit, a 3-D planetarium show, or a program or event at ‘Imiloa to spark your interest!

Registered students can obtain their membership by visiting ‘Imiloa’s front desk (must show Student ID card).


Aug 16 16

September 2016 Museums Month

by Brea Aamoth

September marks the 10th annual Museums Month on Hawai’i Island. This month-long celebration provides members of museums across the island the opportunity to explore other institutions and experience history, science, culture, zoos, adventure and more. Museums Month benefits apply to members of participating institutions, who present a current membership card and proper ID.

Museums Month Participants:

Anna Ranch Heritage Center – Free admission. Hours: Tues. – Fri. 10am – 3pm with tours of the Historic Home at 10am and 1pm. Reservations are required for Historic Home Tour. To make a reservation please email: or call (808) 885-4426. Visit for further information.

Hawai’i Museum of Contemporary Art – Free admission. Hours: Wed. – Fri. 10am-6pm and Sat. 10am-4pm. Closed Sun. and Mon. Check website for current shows, classes and events. For more info call (808) 961-5711.

Hawai`i Plantation Museum – Free admission. Hours: Tues. – Sat. 10am – 3pm. Located at 27-246 Old Mamalahoa Hwy (in the former Yoshiyama Store). Visit Books and other retail items available. (808) 964-5151.

Hulihe`e Palace – Free admission to members – must show membership card; no discount in store. Museum Hours: Mon. – Sat. 9am – 4pm, Sun. 10am – 3pm; Gift Shop Hours Mon. – Sat. 9:30am – 4pm, Sun. 10am – 3pm. Closed on Holidays. For more info visit or call (808) 329-1877. September exhibit will feature selected Kona maps of Henry E.P. Kekahuna.

`Imiloa Astronomy Center – Free admission. Hours: Tues. – Sun. 9am – 5pm. We will be featuring our newest planetarium show, National Geographic’s Asteroid: Mission Extreme in 3D. Visit or call (808) 932-8901 for more info.

Kona Historical Society – Free admission. Kona Coffee Living History Farm: Hours: Mon. – Fri. 10am – 2pm. H.N. Greenwell Store Museum: Mon. & Thurs. 10 am -2pm. For more info call (808) 323-3222, or visit

Laupehoehoe Train Museum –  Free admission. Hours: Mon. – Fri. 10am – 2 pm and Sat. – Sun 10am – 2pm. Book tours in advanced by visiting Call 808-962-6300.

Lyman Museum and Mission House – Free admission. Hours: Mon. -Sat. 10am – 4:30pm. 10% discount in Museum Shop. Special Exhibit: John Howard Pierce Photography is included in admission. Mission House Tours 11am and 2pm (space is limited, please call in advance to reserve space) For more information call (808) 935-5021 or visit

NOAA’s Mokupāpapa Discovery Center – No admission charge, but museum members from participating museums can receive posters, map and coloring sheets available while supplies last; free group education/outreach activities available with reservation, link Hours: Tues. – Sat. 9am – 4pm. Phone: (808) 933-8180. For booking call 808-933-8195 or visit

Pacific Tsunami Museum – Free admission; no discount in store. Hours: Tues. – Sat. 10am -4pm. For more info call (808) 935-0926 or visit

Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens – No admission charge, but members of participating museums will receive a special gift at the Zoo Gift Shop! Hours: Daily, 9am – 4pm (808) 959-9233. or

Volcano Art Center – Located in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park near the Kīlaua Visitor Center, the gallery features both traditional and contemporary work that is inspired by Hawai’i’s unique environment and rich cultural heritage. Free admission. Members of participating museums receive a free poster at VAC’s gallery. Park entrance fees apply. Hours: Daily, 9am – 5pm (808) 967-7565 visit

Click here for Museums Month PDF


Aug 4 16

Astronomy at UH Hilo Today and Tomorrow – Maunakea Skies Talk with Dr. Marianne Takamiya

by Brea Aamoth

‘Imiloa Presents Dr. Marianne Takamiya, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UH Hilo. 
Date: Friday, August 19
Time: 7pm
Cost: $10, $8 for members

UH Hilo Astronomy majors will receive more hands-on telescope time than ever before, thanks to a recent agreement between the Institute for Astronomy at UH Manoa and the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy at UH Hilo. These fortunate students have a unique opportunity afforded to few other programs in the country, namely the opportunity to study the universe in the world’s largest observatories for optical, infrared and submillimeter astronomy, located on the 13,000-foot high summit of Maunakea. Join us to for an update on these and other developments in UH Hilo’s Astronomy Program, at ‘Imiloa’s Maunakea Skies talk on August 19 at 7:00 p.m. presented by Dr. Marianne Takamiya, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UH Hilo. 

“I will present the latest results of the research of faculty and students in astronomy, how our academic program has developed in the last five years and what we envision for the future,” stated Takamiya. “UH Hilo has unique elements that can make ours a novel astronomy program that produces not only astronomers, but also skilled professionals who are able to work in complex systems.” 

Takamiya, who is an expert in physical properties of material between stars in distant galaxies, has presented throughout the United States, Chile, Japan, South Africa and Europe on research she has accomplished using the Maunakea telescopes while heavily involving undergraduate students. Takamiya is a graduate of Universidad de Chile and the University of Chicago, where she received her doctoral degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics. She was one of the first Gemini Science Fellows at Gemini North during its commissioning phase and held a postdoctoral position at UH Hilo before joining its faculty.  She currently serves as the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Hilo campus.


‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, hosted by Planetarium Technician Emily Peavy. The audience can view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year. Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 808-932-8901.

Member Level Discounts: $8 for Kupuna, Individual, Dual, Kupuna and Family Members; $6 for Patron Members; Free for Silver, Gold, and Corporate Members.

Jul 21 16

National Geographic’s Asteroid: Mission Extreme Coming to ‘Imiloa in September

by Brea Aamoth

‘Imiloa Introduces Thrilling New Planetarium Show in September

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is excited to announce the introduction of a thrilling new planetarium show, Asteroid: Mission Extreme in September. Presented by National Geographic, Asteroid: Mission Extreme immerses audiences in 3D, full-dome surround sound and takes them on an epic journey to discover how asteroids are both a danger and an opportunity. The danger lies in the possibility of a cataclysmic collision with Earth; the opportunity is the fascinating possibility that asteroids could be stepping-stones to other worlds – veritable way stations in space that could enable us to cross the Solar System.


As with any venture into outer space, the challenges involved with making this idea a reality are enormous; however, a mission this extreme could ultimately teach us how to protect our planet and successfully inhabit other worlds.


Asteroid: Mission Extreme will be presented at 2:00 p.m. daily in the ‘Imiloa Planetarium on Tuesday – Sunday throughout the month of September. Tickets will be available for purchase at ‘Imiloa’s front desk, or over the phone at 808-932-8901.


‘Imiloa members are invited to view this show early during a special Member Preview and appreciation night on August 25. Become a member today to participate in this special preview event. For more information on membership, email or call 808-932-8901.


Asteroid: Mission Extreme is produced by National Geographic and Sky-Skan, and narrated by Sigourney Weaver. This 25-minute show is suitable for general audiences and school groups.

Jun 30 16

‘Imiloa’s Debut on the East Coast: A Wrap Up

by Margaret Shiba

As we’ve been reporting, ‘Imiloa made its debut on a national stage in late May and early June! Following the itinerary on the East Coast of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s iconic sailing canoe, Hōkūle‘a, we sent an outreach team to Washington, D.C. and New York City for 18 days (May 26-June 12) to share ‘Imiloa’s unique brand of culture-based science programming with new audiences far from home.

Here are some statistics that show what we accomplished:

•   1,600 participants directly engaged in programming about Polynesian wayfinding, including training on the Hawaiian Star Compass and navigational starlines

•   Perspectives exchanged with 200 colleagues at various roundtables and invited gatherings, including the Indigenous Worldviews in Informal Science Education (IWISE) workshop hosted by ‘Imiloa in Washington, D.C.

•   Hundreds of others reached indirectly through distribution of our educational handout on The Art and Science of Oceanic Wayfinding” 

•   Collaborations launched with seven leading science centers and educational institutions, from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (in both Washington, DC and New York City) and the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum, to the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, the Hayden Planetarium, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Lower Eastside Girls Club.

‘Imiloa’s team was made up of Celeste Manuia Ha’o, Education Outreach Coordinator; Mino’aka Macanas, Fiscal Associate/Bookkeeper; and Margaret Shiba, Director of Institutional Advancement. The charge we received from ‘Imiloa Executive Director Ka’iu Kimura was (1) to offer programmatic support to the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s historic Worldwide Voyage, (2) to explore future collaboration between ‘Imiloa and peer science centers on the mainland, and (3) to facilitate professional development opportunities for ‘Imiloa staff with local counterparts.


Our East Coast trip gave us our first ever opportunity to test out some of the same curriculum and tools we use with our Hawai‘i-based MANU ‘Imiloa program with participants far from our shores! MANU ‘Imiloa is our new outreach program which uses the story of the Hōkūle‘a and the theme of Polynesian voyaging to teach science and math, while inspiring K-12 students to consider majors and careers in STEM disciplines.

What did we learn?

•   Just as ‘Imiloa uses wayfinding as a point of access for teaching science and math, other programs address similar goals through different frameworks.

Case in point: the impressive Billion Oyster Project at the Harbor School on NYC’s Governors Island challenges high school students to figure out how to restore a sustainable oyster population in New York Harbor and reconnect New Yorkers to the ocean!



•   ‘Imiloa may only be ten years old, but educators at much older and better established museums look to us for expertise when asking for advice on how to introduce authentic indigenous voices into their exhibits and programs!



•   Young people like the inner city students at NYC’s Lower Eastside Girls Club may not have many opportunities to see the live night sky up close and personal (though they do have an amazing in-house planetarium!), but the theme of navigation resonates deeply when they are invited to share stories of personal influences and career aspirations!




•   Seasoned museum educators can turn into kids when playing with creative exhibits like those at NYC’s amazing Museum of Mathematics!



•   At 425 seats, the imposing Hayden Planetarium is nearly four times larger than the ‘Imiloa dome, but inspired presenters like ‘Imiloa’s Celeste Ha’o and Kālepa Baybayan were not only able to ‘sell out’ the planetarium, they turned the space into an intimate living room with a live, interactive presentation on the Hawaiian night sky and wayfinding skills!




•   The zodiac constellations decorating the massive cathedral-like ceiling in Grand Central Terminal are laid out in a reverse image of the real night sky…perhaps intended to be viewed from a divine, rather than a human, perspective!






•   And of course we also learned that downtime in New York City was the perfect opportunity to taste a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli, enjoy brunch at Sarabeth’s, or take in views from the top of the Empire State Building!

Empire State

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this success possible, including the Ama OluKai Foundation which provided financial support to partially underwrite our trip,  the science centers which opened their space, shared their equipment, and collaborated with us, and our partners at the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Hālāwai. Thanks also to the farflung ‘Imiloa members and Hawaii folks who sought us out, attended our programs, and even provided greatly appreciated home hospitality.

Our trip generated lots of ideas for future programming, and we hope to be back someday soon.

For more information on our programming or to share ideas and support our future outreach, please contact: Margaret Shiba, Director of Institutional Advancement or call 808.932.8921.

Jun 28 16

How Old Would You Be if You Lived on Mars?

by Imiloa Astronomy Center

‘Imiloa enjoyed taking part in KTA’s centennial celebration at their Puainako location in June by joining in on their “Keiki Day” and “Look to the Future” day. Punawai Rice taught KTA shoppers of all ages how to figure out what their age would be if they lived on Mars! Watch the video to find out about Martian years, and get an insight to the similarities between Mars and Maunakea! A big mahalo to KTA Superstores for making ‘Imiloa special every day!

View the table below to find out your Martian age!

Jun 28 16

July Maunakea Skies Talk: The Coolest Members of the Family

by Brea Aamoth


‘Imiloa Presents Dr. Carlos Alvarez of W. M. Keck Observatory

Date: Friday, July 15
Time: 7pm
Cost: $10, $8 for members

Sub-stellar objects, commonly called brown dwarfs, are a class of celestial bodies that haven’t accumulated enough mass during their infancy to start ignition as a star. Often unfairly referred to as “failed stars,” these extraordinary objects are self-sustained by exotic physical processes in their core. Join us to learn more about the “least massive and coolest members” of the Galaxy at ‘Imiloa’s Maunakea Skies talk on July 15 at 7:00 p.m. presented by Dr. Carlos Alvarez, Support Astronomer at W. M. Keck Observatory.

Since the first detection of sub-stellar objects in the Pleiades cluster nearly 20 years ago, researchers have developed complex numerical models to help us understand how the interiors of these cool objects work and how the atmospheric features are produced. Dr. Alvarez will showcase the observations astronomers conduct to validate these models, and demonstrate how the outcome of some of these observations challenge predictions made by the models. Although important progress has been made in recent years to understand these cool and low mass objects, there are still unsolved mysteries, as this talk will examine.

Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech: Image represents an artist’s view of a sub-stellar object

Dr. Alvarez received his PhD from the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) with a Thesis on “Outflows from Massive Young Stellar Objects.” He has been working as a Support Astronomer with the W. M. Keck Observatory since September 2015. During his professional career he has contributed to scientific publications on subjects ranging from massive star formations to active galactic nuclei, sub-stellar objects, comets and asteroids.

‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, hosted by Planetarium Technician Emily Peavy. The audiences can view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year. Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 808-932-8901.

Member Level Discounts: $8 for Kupuna, Individual, Dual, Kupuna and Family Members; $6 for Patron Members; Free for Silver, Gold, and Corporate Members.



Jun 20 16

Mālama Honua My Voyage App for Keiki

by Brea Aamoth

We are excited to share news about a new iPad app for keiki that was created by the Ho’omalamalama Foundation in collaboration with the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Malama Honua Public Charter School. Malama Honua My Voyage is an interactive video app that introduces children ages 5-8 to Polynesian Voyaging and the values of Mālama Honua. In this first “appisode” the character Uncle Billy leads the children on a huaka’i – an excursion – to learn how the Polynesians used natural materials and clues from nature to build a vessel that could sail around the world.

Users of this interactive iPad app tag along as Keola and Emma visit cultural experts from the ocean to the mountains.  Encouraged by their animated guide, Manu, they gather materials for their own canoe and take the first steps toward becoming a junior navigator. They learn to spot clues, solve problems, take risks, and chart a course for success in their own lives, and the app culminates with a lively musical recap aboard a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe.

Mālama Honua “Appisode” Trailer

Jun 15 16

Join us for June’s ‘Imiakea Series: ‘O Hānau Ka Pō Iā Luna: A Presentation on Hawaiian Worldviews and Relationship to Maunakea

by Brea Aamoth

Date: Wed. June 29
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm (doors open at 5:15pm)
Location: ‘Imiloa’s Moanahōkū Hall
Cost: Free

‘O Hānau Ka Pō Iā Luna: A Presentation on Hawaiian Worldviews and Relationship to Maunakea

Join us for the third event in our ‘Imiākea series, which is aimed at expanding our understanding of all that Maunakea represents. This month’s event features ‘O Hānau Ka Pō Iā Luna, a chant that honors the birth of Kamehameha III and traces his lineage to Hawai‘i Island’s natural landscape. A section of this chant describes the birth of a mauna (mountain) of “Kea,” which many Hawaiian scholars and practitioners have associated with the creation of Maunakea on the island of Hawai‘i.


Join Ku‘uipo Freitas and Ku‘ulei Kanahele on Wednesday, June 29 at 5:30 p.m. for a presentation on native Hawaiians’ relationship to Maunakea, and what role their worldview is playing in the modern movement of protest against development on Maunakea. This free community event is located in our Moanahōkū Hall.


For more information on June’s ʻImiākea series, contact ‘Imiloa’s front desk at 808-932-8901.




May 26 16

The First Steps Towards Space Settlements: Robotically Constructed Vertical Takeoff and Vertical Landing Pads

by Brea Aamoth

‘Imiloa Presents Rodrigo Romo PISCES Program Manager

Date: Fri. June 17
Time: 7:00pm
Cost: $10, $8 for members

Before humans settle on the moon or on another planet like Mars, the proper infrastructure will need to be built to ensure survival and protection of valuable equipment. Join us at ‘Imiloa’s June Maunakea Skies talk on Friday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m. with Rodrigo Romo, PISCES Program Manager.


Because of the thin atmosphere and low gravity in places like Mars and the moon, it is important to take into account what debris and dust will result from flying and landing rocket engines in outer space. Rocket engines create a high velocity stream of dust particles which can travel at speeds over 2,000 m/s. Any equipment or hardware in the vicinity can be catastrophically damaged by the abrasive nature of these dust particles. As such, it is of upmost importance that the space equipment is built to withstand these powerful impacts.


In order to protect equipment at the construction site, one of the first things that will be constructed are Vertical Takeoff / Vertical Landing (VTVL) Pads that allow hardware delivery spacecrafts to land and take off in the future space settlement without causing any damage to other assets on the site.


PISCES, in collaboration with NASA KSC, Honeybee Robotics, Hawaii County Department of R&D and ODG-Canada worked on the design and construction of a VTVL Pad in Kea‘au using only local materials. The project included building a lunar analog, leveling the area and placing pavers to create a landing bulls-eye, spreading a protective layer surrounding the bulls-eye and finally testing the design and materials with a 960-pound rocket engine test.


Rodrigo Romo originates from Guadalajara, Mexico where he obtained his degree in Chemical Engineering. He joined PISCES in 2014 as a Project Manager and is responsible for overseeing the VTVL project from start to finish.


‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, hosted by Planetarium Technician Emily Peavy. Audiences will view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year. Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 808-932-8901.

Member Level Discounts: $8 for Kupuna, Individual, Dual, Kupuna and Family Members; $6 for Patron Members; Free for Silver, Gold, and Corporate Members.