UH Hilo’s ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center upgrades planetarium with $720K NASA grant, reopens Nov. 22

The upgrade significantly boosts ‘Imiloa’s planetarium performance with 10 laser-illuminated projectors, creating new scientific journeys for visitors.

High res image.
Audiences will take in eye-popping images in crisp 10K resolution inside ʻImiloa’s new planetarium.

Cutting-edge upgrades are sure to wow stargazers flocking to ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, a world-class center for science education located on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus.

NASA funded a $720,000 upgrade for ‘Imiloa which is now equipped with a 10K-resolution planetarium system using 10 laser-illuminated projectors, superior graphic performance and new features that will greatly enhance user experience and the center’s unique science and wayfinding programs.

Ka‘iu Kimura pictured.
Ka‘iu Kimura

“We are excited to unveil this brand new state-of-the-art planetarium system that will be an immense benefit to our community and science partners across many different disciplines,” says Ka‘iu Kimura, executive director of the center. “We invite everyone to come enjoy this enhanced immersive space and see our universe as never before.”

First in Hawai‘i

The 10K-resolution planetarium system is one of the first of its kind in the country, and also a first in Hawai‘i. Combined with increased computing power and a new software platform, the upgrade is geared toward significantly boosting ‘Imiloa’s planetarium performance and creating new scientific journeys for visitors.

“We want to mahalo NASA for supporting this upgrade and our vendor, SSIA Technologies,” Kimura says. “This new system will allow us to greatly expand the educational tools available, from data visualization to video streaming and beyond.”


‘Imiloa has closed its doors for two weeks in November so the new system can be installed and to conduct facility maintenance. The science and cultural museum will return to its normal operating schedule on Nov. 22 (9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays).

‘Imiloa will be closed for Thanksgiving and reopen on Nov. 24 for its Black Hole Friday event and special Pink Floyd planetarium program.

About ‘Imiloa

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s mission is to share the legacy of Hawai‘i exploration in many fields through a wide range of exhibits, community outreach, programs, and other forms of informal science education. The center is distinctive in it’s architectural structures of conical-shaped buildings that house a welcoming lobby, exhibit hall, full-dome planetarium, café, and gift shop. The center is surrounded by nine acres of native gardens.

‘Imiloa is located at UH Hilo’s University Park of Science and Technology, 600 ‘Imiloa Place, off Komohana and Nowelo streets.

Gardens at Imiloa
‘Imiloa Astronomy Center