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Starry Heavens Newsletter
September 2016
Not Quite Equal
The 2016 Autumnal Equinox will take place in Honolulu on Thursday, September 22 at 4:21am HST; our first day of fall. This marks the moment when the Sun crosses Earth’s equator. Because the name equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night many people think that everyone on Earth experiences equal portions of day and night; however that isn’t true due to several factors: how sunrise and sunset are defined, and atmospheric refraction of sunlight. To delve more deeply into the effect these factors have on the amount of day/night that people experience check out 10 Things About Equinoxes at
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NASA Notables
This month will be a busy one in aeronautics and space exploration for NASA with a crew exchange at the International Space Station and a research spacecraft reaching its target asteroid.

On Tuesday September 6, NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos will undock their Soyuz spacecraft from the Poisk module of the International Space Station and return to Earth, with a planned landing in Kazakhstan. Then on Friday, September 23 NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will launch up to the station aboard another Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Also during the first full week of September on Thursday the 8th an Atlas V411 rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, FL with an Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft on onboard. OSIRIS-Rex will orbit the sun for a year, then use Earth’s gravitational field to assist it on its way to a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu. OSIRIS-REx will map potential sample sites on the asteroid and then briefly touch the surface of Bennu in 2018 to retrieve a sample. The mission will culminate in September 2023 when OSIRIS-Rex returns to earth with the sample. Scientists are hopeful that the sample will help with our understanding of how planets are formed and how life began.

You can follow these and other NASA strides in exploration at the NASA Launch Calendar webpage. Click on any launch that is listed on the page to access in-depth details about a mission’s goals and schedule.
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Helping Hands Appreciated
One of the mainstays of operating The Hōkūlani Imaginarium and Aerospace Exploration Lab (AEL) are volunteers; not only during our public schedule of planetarium show dates or daytime school field trips but also during our special events such as Star-Crossed Lovers, The Haunted Village, and our participation in Windward CC campus-wide events like the Paliku Arts Festival or Windward Ho‘olaule‘a.

A steadfast volunteer since the opening of the Imaginarium back in 2001 has been professor emeritus Dr. Jacquie Maly. Following retirement in 1999 Dr. Maly has been enthusiastically involved in the development of activities and displays in the AEL as well as programming in the planetarium, which includes taking on the role as one of the main presenters of our shows. Dr. Maly’s motivation for volunteering is best understood in her own words, “What I get out of volunteering as much as I do is the reward of sharing. When I worked with the school groups, it was great to see that occasionally there was a “spark” and I hoped that there followed a “flame" which lead to a new insight in a young mind.” This propensity to share is exemplified through her generous donation of purchasing the show Dream To Fly, which has become one of our popular planetarium offerings.

If you have an interest in aerospace or astronomy and the inclination towards volunteering we encourage you to call or email the Imaginarium Manager Larry Wiss at 235-7350. Helping hands are always appreciated in working with our daytime school field trips to the AEL, Imaginarium shows, or during special events.

Reservations Suggested
Due to limited seating of 84 attendees in the Imaginarium, we recommend making reservations for our programs. Call (808) 235-7433 between 8:30am - 3:30pm, Monday - Friday. Reservation phone line is not available on weekends or holidays.

Our admission prices are:
  • $7 General admission
  • $6 WCC students, military, seniors (65 years or older), with ID
  • $5 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. An ATM is located on campus behind the Imaginarium building, next to The Hub coffee shop.

Please pick up and pay for reserved tickets at the Imaginarium Box Office at least 15 minutes prior to showtime. Unclaimed tickets may be sold to waiting customers on a first come, first served basis.

Please visit and LIKE our WCC Imaginarium Facebook Page.

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As always, we welcome your feedback or questions, feel free to phone (808) 235-7350 or email to If you would like information regarding our Adopt-a-Show sponsorship program please click here.

Larry Wiss
Manager, Hōkūlani Imaginarium
Windward Community College
Hale Imiloa 135A
Office (808) 235-7350

Stargazing Voyages of the Starship Discovery
Friday, September 9
Led Zeppelin
Friday, September 9
Stargazing with Krissie Kellogg
Wednesday, September 14

Kaluokahina: The Enchanted Reef
Saturday, September 24
Magic Tree House Space Mission
Saturday, September 24
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