Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center Dedication and Astronomy Open House
The MKAEC will include three conical shapes that depict the major Hawaiian
mountains Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea. Courtesy of Durrant-Media
Five, which designed the MKAEC.
On June 30, members of the community, astronomers, university officials,
and dignitaries gathered at the University of Hawaii at Hilo's University
Park of Science and Technology to celebrate a dedication and blessing of
the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center (MKAEC).
The center, now under construction, is slated to open in late 2005, and
will include an exhibit hall, planetarium, classroom, gift shop, and restaurant.
The exhibits will feature Mauna Kea's world-class observatories and Hawaiian
In a speech to several hundred in attendance, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye
remarked that the Polynesians had sailed to the islands using the stars
to navigate without losing their way. "Christopher Columbus," he
continued, "went looking for India in 1492—and he got lost."
NASA Associate Administrator for Education Adena Williams Loston, Acting
UH President David McClain, UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng, Hawaii County
Mayor Harry Kim, UH Institute for Astronomy Director Rolf-Peter Kudritzki,
and Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Bill Stormont were among those
A very special feature of the event was the presentation of the inaugural
Impact Awards to those who have made a difference in astronomy in Hawaii.
Walter Steiger received the Scientific Impact Award, and Wil Kyselka, the
Educational Impact Award. Mitsuo Akiyama (see
related article) and Clay
Bertleman received posthumous awards for economic impact and cultural impact,
Preceding the dedication, there was a special astronomy open house spread
throughout University Park. All the observatories on Mauna Kea, including
those based in Waimea, participated. Observatory staff and educators from
East Hawaii schools presented exhibits and activities. More than 250 children
from schools and summer programs participated in hands-on activities that
included telescope mirror grinding, comet making, and Hawaiian language
and cultural education.
The IfA is looking forward to working with the MKAEC to increase community
involvement with and interest in astronomy in Hawaii.
More information about MKAEC can be found at http://maunakea.hawaii.edu.