The Universe Comes to Hilo in 4-D

May 25, 2006

In honor of the strong link between the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and Hawaii through Subaru Telescope, the first 4D2U Theater outside Japan has came to the `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai`i that opened in Hilo, Hawaii, in February 2006.

The 4D2U Theater is an experimental four dimensional visualization system developed by the Four Dimensional Digital Universe Project at NAOJ. The four dimensions are the three dimensions of space and the time dimension. The spacial extent and the time span of the Universe are immense. Different spacial scales within the Universe's expanse are dominated by different astronomical structures, and each of these structures change on time scales that match their size.

The 4D2U Project's aim is to help people grasp the immensity of the Universe and understand its structure and how it has evolved. The scientifically accurate and up-to-date visualization of the Universe is useful for education, outreach, and research. The fact that it is also beautiful is just a bonus.

The 4D2U theater at the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii is identical to the theater at NAOJ's Mitaka Campus. It has three screens 1.8 meter by 1.8 meter (6 x 6 feet) in size that abut each other at an angle of 135 degrees. The theater provides an experience of the expanse and depth of the Universe in an intimate setting.

For the `Imiloa installation, the 4D2U Project developed a new program called "The 4D2U Voyage through Space". The journey begins in Hilo Hawaii, Subaru Telescope's operational base and the home of the`Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai`i, and continues beyond the Hawaiian Islands, Earth, our Solar System and our Galaxy to reach the edge of the known Universe. Along the way, the story pauses to show the origins of various astronomical objects. The program should provide a good overview of the structure of the Universe and how it came to be through powerful visuals. The program is approximately seven minutes, and is available in English, Japanese, and Hawaiian language versions.

The `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai`i aims to bring the fabled Mauna Kea mountain with its world-famous astronomy within the reach of every resident and visitor to the Big Island. `Imiloa means explorer or seeker of profound truth in Hawaiian. In addition to the 4D2U Theater, the center will have dramatic exhibits that explore origins and exploration both astronomical and Hawaiian, and a planetarium with digital-laser technology.

The Center is located at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Science and Technology Park, and opened to visitors on February 23, 2006.

For more information, please visit the following web sites:

`Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai`i:
The NAOJ 4D2U Project:

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