A Dialogue about Astronomy and Subaru's Discoveries With Dr. Masahiko Hayashi

September 3, 2009

Hawai'i Island, HI - A conversational "talk story" about astronomy and the Subaru Telescope's discoveries will be the theme of September's International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009) Director's Lecture. Dr. Masahiko Hayashi, Director of Subaru Telescope, has chosen a new and accessible format for his presentation on Thursday, September 17 at the Keck Observatory's Hualalai Learning Theater in Waimea and Saturday, September 19, at `Imiloa Astronomy Center's planetarium in Hilo. Both programs are free and begin at 7 p.m. Space is limited to first-come, first-served.

Rather than a lecture, Dr. Hayashi will conduct an informal and comfortable "dialogue," in which he will discuss a broad range of astronomy questions asked by a member his staff, in the tradition of Galileo's famous book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Dr. Hayashi will also be open, at the end of the presentation, to respond to questions from the audience.

The focus of his dialogue will be "why astronomy": why it is important to observe the heavens, and why use the Subaru Telescope to make those observations. Dr. Hayashi wants to address the kinds of issues that intrigue the public about astronomy, including what astronomers see in the night sky and how explorations with the Subaru Telescope lead to thrilling discoveries about the Universe.

Dr. Hayashi has been involved with the Subaru Project since 1994 and was appointed Director of Subaru Telescope in April 2006. He is a graduate of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Tokyo, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1986. Dr. Hayashi was born in Gifu Prefecture in central Japan. His astronomy research focuses on star and planet system formation.

Subaru Telescope is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. With a light-collecting mirror of 8.2 meters, it is one the largest optical-infrared telescopes in the world and scans the heavens with exceptionally sensitive digital eyes. Detecting star systems billions of light-years away from Earth and imaging galaxies at the edge of the known Universe, Subaru gives astronomers information about the evolution of the cosmos as well as distant planetary systems, which contain the 350-plus identified extra-solar planets (planets outside of our solar system). Primarily staffed at its base facility in Hilo, Subaru's organization collaborates with scientists, educators, and the local community to enhance an understanding of the Universe. For more information, visit

Dr. Hayashi's dialogue is part of the 2009 Directors' Lecture series to commemorate IYA 2009, which is a global celebration of astronomy. This special year-long program replaces `Imiloa's monthly "Maunakea Skies" planetarium talks, which will resume in 2010.

The programs in Waimea take place on the third Thursday of each month at the W. M. Keck Observatory headquarters in the Hualalai Learning Theater at 65-1120 Mamalahoa Highway. The presentations in Hilo take place at `Imiloa Astronomy Center's planetarium on the third Saturday of each month. Guests may also choose to dine beforehand at `Imiloa's Sky Garden Restaurant, which will be open for dinner from 5 pm to 8 pm. For dinner reservations, call the restaurant directly at (808) 935-8888. `Imiloa is located at 600 `Imiloa Place in Hilo, off Komohana and Nowelo Streets at the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park.

Keck Observatory operates two 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes located on the summit of Maunakea. The vision of the Keck Observatory is a world in which all humankind is inspired and united by the pursuit of knowledge of the infinite variety and richness of the Universe. The Observatory operates a small visitor gallery at the telescopes and an information center at headquarters open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit or call (808) 881-3827.

Opened in 2006, `Imiloa Astronomy Center celebrates both Hawaiian culture and Maunakea astronomy. Through its exhibits and programs, `Imiloa strives to share inspiring examples of science and culture together advancing knowledge, understanding and opportunity. For more information, go to or call (808) 969-9700 for recorded information, or (808) 969-9703.

Guidelines for use

document navigation