The Earth. 

Gemini Observatory’s annual outreach program, Journey through the Universe, kicks off on Monday.

The event brings together 83 observatory professionals including astronomers, engineers and astronomy educators to share their passion for science in hundreds of classrooms from March 7-11.

PISCES scientists will also be participating in Journey next week.

This is Journey’s 12th year. The event is a collaboration with the Department of Education Hilo-Waiākea Complex, Hawai‘i Island business community, Maunakea Observatories and NASA.

“STEM initiatives like the Journey program are crucial to developing students’ knowledge and interest about the universe,” said Brad Bennett, the Hawai‘i Department of Education (DOE) Hilo-Waiākea complex area superintendent, in a press release. “We are proud of the partnership that has been established with our scientific community and look forward to working together in the future to see how we can leverage the current program into one that engages our students throughout the school year.”

A new addition to this year’s program is a “stellar tour” of Gemini Observatory’s StarLab portable planetarium to all area K-1 classrooms. In the planetarium, students will learn about the Solar System, constellations, and Hawaiian navigational star lines and legends.

To prepare the observatory staff for classroom visits, a Science Communications workshop is planned at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, led by world-renowned science educator Dr. Dennis Schatz. The workshop will focus on how to most effectively share science with students.

Other Journey events during the week include:

  •   An opening ceremony at the Hilo Yacht Club organized by the Hawai‘i Island Chamber ofCommerce and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  •   Observation of the partial solar eclipse on March 8 in Waikoloa (weather-permitting)
  •   A talk from NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute’s (SSERVI) Brian Day
  •   Building Galileoscopes with NOAO’s Robert Sparks and Peter Michaud of Gemini Observatory“My vision for this program is to inspire local students to aim for the stars,” said Janice Harvey from Gemini’s PIO department, who is also Journey’s program’s coordinator. “This is a grassroots program that I’m very passionate about, because it gives Hawai‘i students the chance to explore STEM careers as a viable choice for their future.”For more information about Journey through the Universe and its partners and sponsors, as well as images, visit