Starry Heavens Newsletter
We hope everyone is well as we all continue to shelter in place to stem the transmission of COVID-19. We miss being able to see you face to face and look forward to the time when we will. As soon as we know when we can resume more normal operations, we will post them on the website so stay tuned.
Are you looking for quality entertainment and education while practicing your social distancing?
The Hōkūlani Imaginarium—in generous partnership with Sky-Skan and The Franklin Institute—is making the internationally awarded space science educational film To Space & Back available online, where every seat in the house is prime viewing! This planetarium show will be available free of charge until the end of June.
There's even an Educator's Guide that you can download in PDF format to accompany the show—a wonderful learning resource especially for our recently expanded homeschool population!
Narrated by James May, To Space & Back takes audiences on an incredible journey from the far reaches of our known universe to our own planet. It is an extraordinary story of human ingenuity and incredible engineering, describing how the technology that transports us through space is paving the way for the devices and apps we use every day. What is happening above is coming back down to Earth!
In the words of Buzz Lightyear …… To Infinity and Back!
Venus and Mercury For Your Viewing Pleasure
While we can’t see each other face to face, we can still see the stars and planets above us and, in particular, an interesting conjunction of Venus and Mercury will occur May 21.
Depending on where you live worldwide, the planets Mercury and Venus will pair up most closely for the year on May 21, 2020. These two words will pass within one degree of one another on the sky’s dome. Incidentally, one degree is approximately the width of your little finger at an arm length from your eye.
In Kailua, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 14° above the horizon (a little more than one adult fist above the horizon.) They will become visible around 19:21 (HST) as the dusk sky fades, 14° above your western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 29 minutes after the Sun at 20:34 (8:34p.m.).
A conjunction occurs when any two astronomical objects (such as asteroids, Moons, planets, and stars) appear to be close together in the sky, as observed from Earth." The conjunction of the planets Mercury and Venus with respect to the Moon is what we will be witnessing. The event is notable not because of the planetary alignment per se but because of how it is aligned but most importantly because of how the human brain perceives it. That is, seeing the conjunction of three celestial bodies in the sky and deriving meaning from it has an explanation as well. It is called Pareidolia.
Pareidolia is the process by which the human brain is able to see meaning in random data. The word pareidolia comes from the Greek word "para" which means something faulty and "eidōlon" which means image, form, or shape. This plays a major role in this event when we see a smiley face in the sky because that is how our brain interprets it. This also explains why we see a man's face on the Moon and Mars.
According to Carl Sagan
, this interpretation has been engrained in humans at birth through millions of years of evolution. The need arose for early man when he had to distinguish someone as a friend or foe in order to survive. This was when he started using contextual clues and put them together to form human faces from a distance and in poor visibility. Sagan called it an evolutionary advantage for humans. (You can learn more about the evolutionary advantage from Sagan's book "Dragons of Eden")
Kau ka la ika lolo
otherwise known as Lahaina Noon
Lahaina or lā hainā means 'cruel sun' in the Hawaiian language. It is an unusual phenomenon when the sun passes exactly overhead; therefore vertical objects cast no shadows. See how the woman below casts no shadow.
Why not try this experiment for yourself in Kaneohe May 27 around noon?
It can be explained by the tropical geographical position of Hawaii and occurs in different locations throughout the islands at midday, around 12 o'clock. Lahaina Noon takes place twice a year, in late May and mid-July, before and after the summer solstice, but exact dates vary annually. Moreover, dates differ on the islands, more southerly ones experiencing Lahaina noon earlier in May and later on July.
One of the most popular spots for observing Lahaina Noon in Honolulu is the Sky Gate sculpture by the world-renowned landscape architect Isamu Noguchi. Here, the phenomenon usually occurs on May 26 and July 15.
There are many sky events happening in May. Be sure to look at the Sky Information for 2020
on our website.
For more information about Imaginarium shows and events contact:
Manager, Dineene O‘Connor, at 808-235-7350 or email@example.com.
Our admission prices are:
Please pick up and pay for tickets at the Imaginarium Box Office at least 15 minutes prior to showtime.
- $8 General admission
- $7 WCC students, military, seniors (65 years or older), with ID
- $6 Children (ages 4-12 years)
- Free for children under 4 years of age (1 per paying adult), and WCC faculty or staff with university ID
- CASH & CHECK ONLY.
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As always, we welcome your feedback or questions, feel free to phone (808) 235-7350 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like information regarding our Adopt-a-Show sponsorship program
please click here
Manager, Hōkūlani Imaginarium
Windward Community College
Hale Imiloa 135A
Office (808) 235-7350