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Imiloa 2019

We are One Sky 

We were invited to ʻImiloa in 2019 with a singular purpose – to increase understanding and share stories about how different cultures see the sky. We were mostly strangers to start, no one knew every other person invited.  Now we are collaborators with friends in different corners of the world.   

With our goal, we wondered if we could share our stories in ways that build connections and community across people that don’t know each other and never may meet in person. Could we build connection and community because, after all, we do share the same ONE SKY?

 

Why is it a "project"?

We are the (One Sky) Project because “projects” have focus and purpose, and they take work. They are iterative, generative, and sometimes need course correcting or re-thinking.  A project isn’t a “final statement” on anything, and certainly our team of collaborators doesn’t pretend to be the definitive word on cultural and indigenous astronomy which is vast.  But with good intentions, we explore questions about how different cultures use the sky as a canvas to share culture, as an instrument to pass on traditional knowledge, and as a tool to navigate and better understand place.

Meet the faces behind One Sky Project

Kaiu Kimua

Ka‘iu Kimura

About my place

He kama au no ka ʻāina o ka ua kīpuʻupuʻu, aloha nui ʻoukou. I am from Waimea, Hawaiʻi a place famed for the bitter cold winds and rains of the kīpuʻupuʻu. I now reside in Hilo, Hawaiʻi famed for the Kanilehua rains that drench and scatter the petals of the lehua blossom.

My professional life

I’m the Executive Director of ʻImiloa Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo where I’ve served for over 20 years in developing the mission of the Center as well as cultivating and advocating for community engagement in the pursuit of astronomical research while ensuring the integrity and advancement of Hawaiʻi’s host culture through partnerships with the scientific community. The Hawaiian word “ʻImiloa,” means to seek far. It is also the word for both an explorer and to explore. ‘Imiloa is a place of life‐long learning where the power of Hawai‘i’s cultural traditions, its legacy of exploration, and the wonders of astronomy come together to provide inspiration and hope for generations.

Why this project is important to me

Ola… this project helps to further raise the voices of indigenous identities that teach of the importance of local perspectives shared across the global community.

Early memory about the sky

Haley’s comet shooting across the dark, starry night sky with a moon-light Maunakea in the backdrop.

Eric Chisholm

Eric Chisholm

About my place

I’ve bounced around but now plant my feet in the wilderness of East Sooke on Vancouver island in Canada. Surrounded by trees and nature is where I’m happiest but my real place is not about a physical location but about being around those closest to me.

My professional life

Currently, I lead science instrument development efforts for the Thirty Meter Telescope project. My career has been diverse ranging from managing some of the most advanced astronomical instruments ever designed to running a science center and teaching people about the constellations. I like to stay busy and challenged by new things. My journey needs to involve pushing myself and embracing new things!

Why this project is important to me

Like most rewarding things, this project has been a fabulous opportunity for me to connect with new people and learn many things, while hopefully contributing a modest amount to the group. The journey to learn these new things is what lets me connect with other people and develop a better worldview.

Early memory about the sky

I don’t have a clear first memory but rather a continuous pull to gaze upwards and an unending sense of wonder about what is out there and how this all came to be and will play out in time.

Sandra Dawson

Sandra Dawson

About my place

I come from a small town in West Virginia, in lands once inhabited by the Shawnee people, and from a house on a hill surrounded by trees. Being in the woods was a big part of my life, so it was a real shock when we moved to Southern California in 1985 for graduate school. Our families are still in “Almost Heaven, West Virginia'' so we visit often.

My professional life

By accident I began my professional career at the Jet Propulsion Lab, after a variety of jobs to pay my way through college while raising three daughters. I discovered that I loved problem solving and managing projects, so I stayed there for twenty years. Looking for a new challenge in 2006 I moved to the Thirty Meter Telescope Project. I am retiring in early 2022.

Why this project is important to me

I have always been fascinated with the idea that many countries and cultures have been looking at the sky for guidance and inspiration for millennia. It is a curiosity, and a quest for understanding that unites us all. I wanted to be a part of telling some of those stories.

Early memory about the sky

When I was young, I loved the night, when I could walk in the woods or over the hills alone. I thought of the night sky as a friendly, protective ‘presence’ in my life. I still do.

Samir Dhurde

Samir Dhurde

About my place

My country India, is so diverse in geography and people that it is called a subcontinent. I have had the good fortune of growing up in the East near Kolkata and now living in the Western city of Pune, both hubs of two unique Indian cultures among the many. It is reassuring though that when the stars shine in the evening, they are the same.

My professional life

I lead a team of passionate Science and Astronomy communicators at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics. A radio astronomer by training and a selenophile at heart, I love sharing this amazing subject, whose tales are sometimes more exciting than science fiction. As part of many education and outreach advisory groups related to astronomy, I love putting in efforts to design large-scale educational programmes and resources for people in India and abroad, to make experiencing and learning about it fun.

Why this project is important to me

Astronomy has forever brought us both beauty and mystery. Its importance in finding our place in the universe has been there since the first skygazers. The diverse skylores across the world, not just enable us to easily remember the sky, but also keep a record of the unique things that our ancestors held close to heart. I am part of this project to help celebrate unsung astronomical stories and tools of the past, including those from India, which need to be preserved and widely shared.

Early memory about the sky

My first memory of looking at the sky is with my grandmother, who told me the story of the three thieves and the old woman’s cot, which is how she knew the constellation called the Great Bear in Greek lore. Another memory is of learning about Kalpurush (Orion) from my teacher in school. Years later I saw “him” head over heels in the southern hemisphere sky, making the power of perspectives very clear!

Takumi Inoue

Takumi Inoue

About my place

I was born and raised in central Japan, and have lived in Hokkaido(North), Tohoku (North East), and Shikoku(West) region, as well as the west coast of the US. Every time I move to a new place I enjoy learning how to adapt to a local climate and culture.

My professional life

I started my career at then-largest planetarium in the world in 2010. And up until now I've been an avid user of digital planetariums.

In 2016 I became a committee member of a Japanese fulldome festival called IFSV (International Festival of Science Visualization). Since then my interests further expand to "immersive media" in general, including fulldome art & VR.

Why this project is important to me

I am curious to know what the world is really like, and love to share the sense of awe and wonder. Ancient people in different places never fail to fascinate me with their unique interpretation and imagination.

Early memory about the sky

I can clearly recall my memories when I first saw Saturn's ring with my own telescope. It was so tiny, but convincing enough to make me realize that the ring really exists there.

And some 20 years later I had an opportunity to photograph a starry night sky with my own camera for the first time. It was noisy and blurred a bit, yet so beautiful and powerful enough to show me that countless numbers of stars do exist in the universe.

Larry Kimura

Larry Kimura

About my place

My home is the island of Hawaiʻi surrounded by the great Pacific Ocean. I’m based in the coastal town of Hilo, on the mountain slopes of Maunaloa, known for the Volcano deity Pele, and Maunakea the home of the snow deity, Poliʻahu.

My professional life

I am an Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. I dedicate my work to the survival of the Hawaiian language and cultural identity. I am a co-founder of the ʻAha Pūnana Leo, that in 1987 established what has become the P-12 public Hawaiian medium education program for the state. Hawaiʻi is the first in the nation to recognize its native language as an official language of the state and a medium of public-school education. The College of Hawaiian Language at UH Hilo is also the first in the nation to establish graduate programs, a Master’s and PhD in Hawaiian Language and Culture Revitalization, taught entirely through the medium of Hawaiian.

Why this project is important to me

As a Native Hawaiian and a member of the world indigenous community, I find it imperative to delve into the ancestral wonders and knowledge of my people that connect me to the cosmos, a realm that as a Hawaiian is held in high esteem as the source of all the natural forces for life on earth.

Early memory about the sky

From my childhood home in Waimea, I would watch the transition of the atmosphere as the sky slowly changed colors above the majestic presence of Maunakea standing in the calm. From the first light of dawn to morning’s fullness, the full light of day, the evening calm, and a clear night sky filled with stars; these marvels of the passage of time above Maunakea adorn the sky.

Nancy C. Maryboy

Nancy C. Maryboy

About my place

I currently live in the beautiful San Juan Islands in Washington state, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Salish Sea. From where I live, I can see the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. I acknowledge that I am residing on the ancestral lands of the Salt Water Salmon People of the Salish Sea, who have called this place home since time Immemorial. I honor the inherent and acquired treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and waters.

In addition, I respectfully acknowledge my own ancestral homelands of the Diné (Navajo, Southern Utah) and Tsalagi (Cherokee, from the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina), and Northern Athabaskans, Alaska.

My professional life

I am the Founding President Executive Director of the Indigenous Education Institute, founded in 1997, and located in the San Juan Islands of Washington, and the Navajo Nation. We are an all-Indigenous International institution with a focus on the preservation, protection and application of Indigenous ways of knowing to contemporary concerns. We are currently funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA HEAT (NASA Heliophysics Education Activation Team. We created a digital full dome planetarium show on Navajo ways of knowing: Sharing the Skies. We have written a book on Navajo Astronomy – Sharing the Skies: Navajo Astronomy A Cross-Cultural View. We developed and taught Indigenous Astronomy 201 at Northern Arizona University, for 10 years. Today we are focusing on Indigenous perceptions of eclipses, with NASA and the Exploratorium Science Center in San Francisco, CA. We are also hosting a webinar speaker series – A Sense of Place: Indigenous Perspectives of Earth, Water and Sky. My PhD is in Indigenous Science and I have co-written a dissertation with IEI Vice President Dr. David Begay, called Nanit’á Sa’ah Naagháí, Nanit’á Bikeh Hozhóon – Living the Order: Dynamic Cosmic Process of Diné Cosmology.

Why this project is important to me

Indigenous astronomy is my passion, especially the astronomy of my ancestors - Diné and Cherokee. The deep wisdom embedded in the stories and cycles of the sky can provide guidance to our everyday lives. Most Navajo star knowledge is about ways of living in accordance with the natural order. It is important to share this knowledge with our youth so it will continue. Bringing together these stories from across the world provides a collective wisdom and unites us through the skies that we all see from our own place-based perspectives.

Early memory about the sky

A very old memory is of my grandfather sharing a story that the full moon was God’s searchlight. I also remember the incredible wide skies of my Navajo family and the place-based stories of the skies.

Laurie Nepton-Rousseau

Laurie Nepton-Rousseau

About my place

I live on the Big Island, far from home, in the beautiful archipelago of Hawaii. My land, the Innu territory, is called Nitassinan. It is vast and located in the Northern surrounding of Québec city. The forest is in its heart and I go back every year to connect with it.

My professional life

Using telescopes and the help from the Maunakea, I deepen my vision and study the Universe. After graduating in 2017, I moved to Hawaii to pursue my dreams. I work as a support Astronomer for the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. My responsibilities go from training students, helping researchers around the world to analyse data and use the telescope, improve cameras used to observe the sky and conduct my own research. While leading a research program called SIGNALS, I aim at enhancing our understanding of how stars are born, how they evolve through their life, and how they impact their environment.

Why this project is important to me

Ancestral knowledge and ways of knowing from all communities can help guide our way in the future. This knowledge is both strong and fragile, and we need to make sure it remains alive. As an astronomer and member of a First Nation from Canada, I want to help people understand the extent of this knowledge and its great value.

Early memory about the sky

Looking at auroras in the backyard after being awakened by my dad in the middle of the night. I remember being so mesmerized by it and wondering how this could be possible.

Derrick Pitts

Derrick Pitts

About my place

Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States, home of the first White House. It’s a city of neighborhoods, diversity, education, and creativity. Some argue( mostly us Philadelphians…) that we have the best food, museums, arts culture, and green environment of any city on the East Coast!

My professional life

As Chief Astronomer of Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, I’ve been a pioneer in the emergence of the career now known as ‘informal science educator’ and as an African-American, a pioneer in the career now known as ‘Science Communicator’. My goal as an educator and communicator is to help people recognize and embrace their connection with the STEM components of their lives and hopefully acknowledge their connection to the universe we all are part of.

Why this project is important to me

Every culture throughout time has had its own mythology about the twinkling lights of the night sky. Sometimes the patterns of the stars as interpreted from culture to culture represent similar concepts, but even when they don’t, the differences are still a mark of our shared humanity that binds us together when we look up to the same sky, no matter where you live on Earth. This project is an opportunity for us to remember that we have so much more that binds our cultures than separates us.

Early memory about the sky

Like many others, I also looked at the night sky with wonder. But what really transfixed me as a young sky observer, was seeing the clockwork mechanism of the universe right in my own backyard and neighborhood. I learned to use the vertical objects around me as gnomons in the giant sundial of the city that surrounded me. I learned to see them everywhere and watch this planet as it moved through the day, through the year. I used the brick courses on the row homes of my street as finely divided clocks to learn the essence of time. I used these objects to understand its reach and influence across the millennia and the universe itself. Looking up into the sky, I saw much more.

Mark Subbarao

Mark Subbarao

About my place

I live in Annapolis Maryland in a quirky community called Eastport nestled between Spa Creek and Back Creek off of the Chesapeake Bay’s Severn River. Annapolis is located on the traditional lands of the Piscataway and Pamunkey.

My professional life

I lead NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, a group which communicates NASA science through data driven visuals. I also serve as the past-president of the International Planetarium Society, the professional organization of the world’s planetarians. Before moving to NASA in 2020 I spent 18 years working at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, and before that was at the University of Chicago where I worked as an Astronomer, helping to construct the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Why this project is important to me

People and Place. This project brought together several good friends and collaborators, and others whom I was excited to meet. I know many of the collaborative will agree with me that it was a true honor to be included in this group. ‘Imiloa is also special to me, its location, and its mission to bridge culture and science, makes it one of the most significant planetariums in the world.

Early memory about the sky

I’ll share a significant memory with you, even if it isn’t a terribly early one. During the 1986 visit of Halley’s Comet I volunteered to help staff the telescope at a local museum for a viewing event. At that time I was in High School and already considering astronomy as a career (if my first choice of being a professional baseball player didn’t work out). We were clouded over, still hundreds of people waited in line for hours. Finally the clouds broke and we were able to view the comet. That event showed me the power of night skies to move people.

Ryan Wyatt

Ryan Wyatt

About my place

I make my current home in the heart of San Francisco, on the traditional lands of the Ramaytush, Muwekma, and Ohlone people. But I grew up in the Sonoran Desert in Tohono O’odham territory, inspired by the incomparable desert landscape and the gorgeous night sky.

My professional life

I use planetariums to immerse audiences in storytelling and science. I am particularly passionate about bringing authentic science data into domes. I assumed my role as Senior Director of Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization at the California Academy of Sciences in April 2007. In that role, I write and direct the Academy’s fulldome video planetarium programs, and I lead a team of educators who share astronomy through media and personal interactions with our guests. I also cofounded Immersive Media Entertainment, Research, Science, and Art (IMERSA), a professional organization dedicated to advancing the art and technology of immersive digital experiences, and I served as co-chair of the 2017 and 2019 Gordon Research Conferences on Visualization in Science and Education (GRC/VSE).

Why this project is important to me

I am deeply inspired by the multitude of perspectives that people bring to the night sky—and by the opportunity to construct meaning where science cannot. I feel that planetariums have short-changed cultural and Indigenous knowledge, and I hope we can motivate our community to acquire the tools to do better.

Early memory about the sky

Not early but vivid. As a high school student, I would drive out into the foothills of the Rincon Mountains in Arizona, sit on the roof of my car, and stare at the sky, imagining the distances to the stars overhead and picturing myself on a spinning globe in a three-dimensional universe. Trying to embody the concepts I was learning at the time.

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Jin Zhu

About my place

I was born in Beijing, China and spent about 40 years in this city. Beijing is a modern city now but still has many suburb area with very good condition for night-sky observations.

My professional life

I got my Ph.D. in astronomy in 1991 after 10 years’ astronomy study in universities, and became a professional astronomer in the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences. My research field was mainly the small bodies in the Solar System. I came to Beijing Planetarium in 2002, and was the director of the planetarium during 2002-2019. Currently I am the chief editor of Amateur Astronomer magazine jointly hosted by Chinese Astronomy Society and Beijing Planetarium.

Why this project is important to me

Hawaii is always one of my most favorite places as an observational astronomer and an extremely enthusiastic amateur. As part of this, I have been to ‘Imiloa Center for Astronomy previously. The project is important to me because of the Maunakea, the future fo astronomy with large telescopes, as well as my interest in the intercommunication between different astronomical cultures.

Early memory about the sky

I spent seven years during my early school period in a mountain area in Hebei Province, where the night sky was very dark. The first Chinese satellite Dongfanghong-1 was launched on my 5-year birthday, I can still remember the feeling as we watched the satellite moving over head in a summer night when we could hear clearly the song of Dongfanghong (The East is Red) directly transmitted from the satellite. In reality it was from the radios in all the open windows of nearby buildings, but to me it seemed it was coming from the satellite. There were not many satellites in the early 1970s, but my memory of those summer evenings and dawns is that you could easily spot a ‘moving star’ whenever you gazed at the sky for some time.