Starry Heavens Newsletter
Pluto Up Close and Personal
There is much anticipation and excitement surrounding the New Horizons mission this month, as humans get their first closeup view of Pluto and its moons. The long wait over the nine years since the launch of the spacecraft, should be rewarded with new discoveries on the third category of planets in our solar system family--the Dwarf Planets.
The little spacecraft will be our surrogate senses as it cruises within 7,750 miles of Pluto on July 14. Flying over the icy planet, New Horizons' multiple instruments will be able to show us objects on the surface as small as a jet plane. This is remarkable considering even our most powerful telescopes show Pluto to be a pixilated disc, with little or no detail in the images.
New Horizons will also look at Charon, Pluto's largest moon. At over 3 billion miles away from Earth, Charon was discovered in 1978 only through the invention of more powerful telescopes. Pluto's system currently includes four more moons, which were not even known to scientists until decades later.
In addition to this amazing encounter, New Horizons will continue its journey farther into the Kuiper Belt, the region in our solar system that icy, rocky bodies like Pluto and Charon reside within. There are estimated to be thousands of these small planet-like objects, including comets, inhabiting this area billions of miles from the Sun.
Hawaii has played a major part in researching the Kuiper Belt, from the UH scientists who discovered the first Kuiper Belt Object (KBO), to the discovery and naming of other KBOs such as Haumea and Makemake. (see images below)
Image courtesy NASA
Artist illustration of Haumea, discovered in 2004. The egg-shaped dwarf planet is named after the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth and fertility.
Image courtesy NASA
Makemake, as illustrated above, was discovered in 2005 and given the name of the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) creator of humanity.
Although there hasn't been more information released at this time about possible Kuiper Belt targets, the New Horizons mission will certainly produce many surprises that will expand our view of our solar system--starting 3 billion miles away!
For more information on New Horizons, go to: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html
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July is the Hokulani Imaginarium's "down time", as we perform some scheduled maintenance and programming for the fall season. Look for our new schedule next month as we resume our public programs in August.
We are excited to bring you some special events as well as a brand new show this year. The sidebar of this newsletter previews some of the special programs coming up in the next few months, which are in addition to the many other favorites you might have seen (or would like to see again!).
We are especially happy to announce a new show debuting in October called Flying Monsters. Produced by National Geographic, this documentary was adapted for the planetarium dome and explains the rise of the pterosaurs, the ancient winged creatures that dominated the prehistoric skies.
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There are no public programs scheduled for the month of July.
The next scheduled program is Stargazing
in August. Look for our new schedule
on our website coming soon!
More information on programs and updates to our schedule are posted on our website
or our Facebook
Wednesday, Aug. 12 – 7:00pm
(Live program in the Imaginarium with Krissie Kellogg.)
Call (808) 235-7433 for reservations*.
*Please note: Although we recommend reservations for our programs, our reservations line does NOT take calls or messages after 4pm on Fridays or holidays. However, we DO have limited seats available on a first come, first served basis. Please plan on coming early (at least 30 minutes prior to the show) if you would like a walk-in ticket.
You may find more details regarding these programs on our website
, or call the Imaginarium office at (808) 235-7350.
Or follow Imaginarium news via our Facebook posts
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As always, we welcome your feedback or questions, or if you would like more information regarding our Adopt-a-Show sponsorship.
Please feel free to phone or e-mail us at the contacts provided at the end of this newsletter.
Due to limited seating, we recommend making reservations for our programs.
Call (808) 235-7433 between 8am-4pm, Monday-Friday.
(Reservation phone line is not available on weekends.)
Please note: Credit and debit cards are not accepted at the box office.
An ATM is located on campus behind the Imaginarium building, next to The Hub coffeeshop.
Please arrive at the Imaginarium at least 30 minutes before showtime. Reserved tickets must be picked up at the Imaginarium box office at least 15 minutes
prior to start of program. Unclaimed tickets are released for sale to walk-in customers on a first come, first served basis.
Carolyn Kaichi, Imaginarium Manager