State's role in astronomy seen in 3-D


POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2008

HILO » Imiloa astronomy center in Hilo, housing the world's first 3-D stereo planetarium, is now showing its first locally produced 3-D video featuring three observatories on Mauna Kea.

The 15-minute video, “;Hawaii's Observatories: An Update from Maunakea,”; offers public showings at 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, featuring the Japanese Subaru telescope, the multinational Gemini telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope. Kamaaina admission is $12 and covers all Imiloa exhibits.

With three more 3-D stereo planetariums planned—in Hamburg, Germany; Athens, Greece; and Macao, China—the video will make Hawaii's astronomy achievements better known around the world, Imiloa officials said during a preview of the video last week.

Because the video is projected onto a 360-degree dome, a fisheye lens was needed to produce it. But no video camera can record using a fisheye, so Gemini photographer Kirk Puuohau-Pummill had to take individual still shots every two seconds and then link them together into a video featuring both astronomy and Hawaiian reverence for Mauna Kea.

The video shows Subaru's research into far distant galaxies, Gemini's study of a supernova and Canada-France-Hawaii's wide-field mapping of thousands of galaxies.