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Translating The Solar System

Presentation #212.01 in the session Public Engagement and Education Research.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Translating The Solar System

The Maunakea Observatories (MKO) annually hold a Solar System Walk by creating a scale model of the solar system through the rural town of Waimea on Hawaii Island. Participants self pace, visiting booths for each planet where they learn basic information about the planets, recent planetary discoveries made using the MKO, and participating in an activity or demonstration. The walk traditionally ends with a Halloween costume contest, lunch provided by the organizers, and prizes.

COVID made the traditional walk impossible in 2020, causing the organizers to reimagine the walk. The organizers decided to create a self-guided tour of the solar system with decals on a popular Waimea walking path. The decals scale to the proper distance and include a QR code to a video about the planet created by MKO staff. Those completing the walk can register as solar system adventures and receive prizes via mail.

The organizers decided that each video and decal would include content in English and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. They created a basic script for each planet enabling translations by Leinani Lozi, education specialist at the Gemini Observatory and student of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hiloʻs College of Hawaiian language with rresearch done by Alexis Ann Acohido from the East Asian Observatory.

The panel discussion includes the key organizers of the Waimea Solar System Walk: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope director of strategic communications Mary Beth Laychak, W. M. Keck Observatory outreach coordinator Shelly Pelfrey, University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy education/outreach specialist Carolyn Kaichi, and Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab outreach assistant/Solar System Walk translator Leninai Lozi. The talk will provide an overview of the revamped Solar System Walk, a discussion of the decision to include content in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the efforts required to translate/film the scripts into ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, and the Solar System Walk’s impact on future MKO events.

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