Subaru Telescope and UH Hilo's ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center help local schoolchildren reach for the stars

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Apr 6, 2009

"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 ʻImiloa Astronomy Center at UH Hilo."
—Dr. Masahiko Hayashi, Director, Subaru Telescope

HILO — UH Hilo‘s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi 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 ʻImiloa Center by K-12 schoolchildren and their teachers, as part of an ambitious two-year program through which ʻImiloa 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 ʻImiloa 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 ʻImiloa secures for the program, the Moore Foundation grant is providing $2.

The ʻImiloa Astronomy Center has a special mission to engage youth in Hawaiʻi, 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 ʻImiloa is instilling are critical tools for preparing local young people to participate in Hawaiʻi‘s 21st century economy. In pursuit of this mission, ʻImiloa has set an aggressive goal of reaching all of Hawaiʻi 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 ʻImiloa 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.

ʻImiloa‘s Associate Director Kaʻiu Kimura commented, "Support from Subaru Telescope is helping ʻImiloa 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 Hawaiʻi 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."


The mission of UH Hilo‘s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi is to celebrate Hawaiian culture and Maunakea astronomy, sharing with the world an inspiring example of science and culture united to advance knowledge, understanding and opportunity. Please visit

The Subaru Telescope is one of the world‘s largest optical-infrared telescopes. Located on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, it is one of the best sites on earth to view outer space. Operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and primarily staffed at its base facility in Hilo, Hawaiʻi, Subaru‘s organization collaborates with scientists, educators, and the local community to enhance our understanding of the universe. Please visit

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master‘s programs and two doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and science, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and use the Island of Hawaiʻi as a natural learning laboratory. Enrollment has doubled since 1980 to more than 3,700 students coming from all fifty states and more than 40 countries. Please visit

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. Our mission is to unite our donors‘ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawaiʻi and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships. Please visit www.uhf.