Visit The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo

Big Island Guide Travel Guide

Exploring  The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo

There’s a reason why the Big Island is such a hub for astronomical observation: Mauna Kea, the massive dormant volcano that lies well above atmospheric interference so crucial to observing objects in the starry sky. To present and preserve these findings to the public, the University of Hawaii-Hilo established the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, where visitors can explore the heavens and learn about ancient Hawaiian navigation techniques, combining history and science in a way unlike any other place in the world.

If you’re on the Hilo side of the Big Island and looking for an air-conditioned, educational experience that will entertain and enlighten you and your party, here’s why a visit to the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is a must-see during your Big Island vacation.

Amazing Planetarium Experience

Boasting one of the best fully immersive, 3D planetarium in the world, this 120-seat theater featured a full dome video projection system that allows a unique look at the starry night skies. One of the exhibits explores the relationship between early Polynesian explorers and modern astronomy, showing how these ancient voyagers used surprisingly sophisticated celestial navigation techniques to journey from the Marquesas Islands to the Hawaiian Islands thousands of years before European explorers discovered the chain of Pacific islands.

Two Massive Exhibits

In the main area of the center lies two interactive exhibits: Origins and Explorations. Origins explores the birth of the cosmos, the beginning of life on Earth, and how astronomical observation helps explain the origins of creation and how we came to be.

Explorations demonstrates many of the techniques and tools early Polynesians used to navigate the Pacific Ocean and journey to Hawaii’s Big Island from the Marquesas Islands thousands of years ago.

Frequent Events, Lectures, and Presentations

Being one of the best sites for astronomical observation in the world, it’s natural that the Big Island would attract some of the leading minds in the scientific field. When they visit, they often provide free lectures and presentations into the work the 13 telescopes on the Big Island are doing to further enlighten our species into the origins of the universe and looking beyond our solar system.

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