ESRL Global Systems Division

Science On a Sphere® at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i

Science On a Sphere® was installed at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i the week of November 13, 2006. The new 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i opened on February 23, 2006. Its mission is "To celebrate Hawaiian culture and Mauna Kea astronomy, sharing with the world an inspiring example of science and culture united to advance knowledge, understanding, and opportunity." The Center is located in Hilo overlooking Hilo Bay on the campus of the University of Hawaii Science and Technology Park. The Hawaiian word "'imiloa" means explorer or seeker of profound truth.

Science On a Sphere® will fit very nicely with the mission of advancing knowledge of the Earth at the new Center and will complement the Center's planetarium. Kalewa Correa, Exhibit Specialist at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center said, "This awe inspiring and teaching tool provides us at 'Imiloa with the ability to present cutting-edge scientific discoveries in conjunction with cultural-based learning materials which facilitate the ongoing support of our mission." This new exhibit of Science On a Sphere® was sponsored by the Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program of NOAA and the NOAA Pacific Services Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Science On a Sphere® is a unique visualization technology that was invented by Dr. Sandy MacDonald, Director of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, CO. In August of 2005 NOAA received a patent for Science On a Sphere®. Using computers coupled with video projectors, the system presents NOAA's global science in an engaging three-dimensional representation of the Earth's features as if they were viewed from space. It is currently being installed at museums and science centers throughout the United States.

One of NOAA's main mission goals is "Serve Society's Needs for Weather and Water Information" and its performance objective is to enhance environmental literacy and improve understanding, value, and use of weather and water information and services. Science On a Sphere® maps directly into that goal. This innovative technology is intended to educate multigenerational audiences about ongoing NOAA research being conducted at many laboratories and to inspire students so that they might investigate scientific career paths.

Contact information
Name: William Bendel
Tel: 303-497-6708