Check out the upcoming events and news from the Hokulani Imaginarium!
Starry Heavens Newsletter
May 2017
Something Special
Free Admission to Music of the Spheres, a special Hokulani Imaginarium public show being offered, Friday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. This 45-minute show uses avant-garde electronic music to echo and transmute the sublime light and space-time of the Universe. Produced by Ebb & Flow Arts, the show is based on the work of ancient Greek philosophers and mathematicians who noticed the uncanny ability of music to elevate sounds through portals of outer space. Works by Peter Swanzy, Robert Wehrman, Takuma Itoh, Danny Clay, Carlin Ma, Michael Takemoto, Lee Michael, Dominik Walczuk, Jean-Claude Risset, Otto Luening, and others are featured. The show concludes with a live performance by special guest, Ignace Jang, violinist and Honolulu Symphony Concertmaster.

Alphard, the Lonely Heart of Hydra
Around 9 pm in May the great star pattern of Hydra the water snake stretches across the entire sky from east to west. Its brightest star, Alphard (Alpha Hydrae) marks the serpent's orange heart. Aptly named the solitary one, Alphard is the only star of any particular brightness. Most of the stars in this longest of all 88 constellations are dim and quite hard to see. Alphard ascends in the early evening but is not completely up until after midnight from late February and remains through the summer. In order to locate Alphard it might be easier to orient one's gaze higher up to the blue-white star, Regulus, in the constellation Leo.
To find Alphard In the Northern Hemisphere stand facing southward. Leo will be overhead. It is easier to spot by its backwards question mark asterism. (An asterism is part of a larger constellation.) The backward question mark is the head and mane of Leo and his front paw Alphard will be to the lower right of Regulus, Leo's brightest star. Alphard is not as bright as Regulus, but it’s respectively bright orange color sets it apart. 

It may be necessary to look at Alphard with binoculars to discern its orange color. Alphard’s color is similar to the color of the orange stars Pollux, Arcturus, and Aldebaran and shows that they are entering into the autumn of their years. However, Pollux, Arcturus, and Aldebaran appear brighter in our sky than Alphard. That is because they are so much closer to us. Alphard is actually much brighter but it appears less bright because it is 180 plus light-years away. Pollux, Arcturus, and Aldebaran are 34, 37 and 65 light-years away, respectively. Someday soon ( astronomical standards) Alphard will shed its outer layers and shrink into a dead white dwarf star. Until then the Hydra’s orange heart beckons stargazers.

Cabbage Patch In Space

Tokyo Bekana Chinese cabbage leaves are shown prior to harvest aboard the International Space Station. Image courtesy NASA
After spending nearly a month tending to the International Space Station's first crop of Chinese cabbage, astronaut Peggy Whitson recently harvested the leafy greens. While the space station crew will get to eat some of the Chinese cabbage, the rest is being saved for scientific study back at Kennedy Space Center. 

This is the fifth crop grown aboard the station, and the first Chinese cabbage. The crop was chosen after evaluating several leafy vegetables on a number of criteria, such as how well they grow and their nutritional value.The top four candidates were sent to Johnson Space Center's Space Food Systems team, where they brought in volunteer tasters to sample the choices. The Tokyo Bekana turned out to be the most highly rated in all the taste categories.

Astronauts often report that their taste buds dull during spaceflight, and they frequently add hot sauce, honey or soy sauce to otherwise bland-tasting food. One explanation for this may be that, in a reduced gravity environment, the fluid in astronauts' bodies shifts around equally, rather than being pulled down into their legs as we're accustomed to on Earth.The fluid that fills up their faces feels similar to the congestion from a cold and reduces their ability to smell. Researchers suspect this phenomenon likely dulls their sense of taste.

Later this year, the Advanced Plant Habitat, NASA's largest plant growth chamber, will make its way to the space station. Experiments in the space station will increase scientific knowledge needed to dig deeper into long-duration food production for missions farther and farther from home.
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 outside the library.

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.

Dineene O'Connor
Manager, Hōkūlani Imaginarium
Windward Community College
Hale ‘Imiloa 135A
Office (808) 235-7350
Music of the Spheres
Friday, May 5,
7:30 p.m.
with Krissie Kellogg

Wednesday, May 10,
7:00 p.m.
Earth, Moon and Sun
Saturday, May 13,
1:00 p.m.
Maunakea Between Earth
and Sky

Saturday, May 13,
2:00 p.m.
Tales of the Maya Skies
Friday, May 26,
7:00 p.m.
Led Zeppelin
Friday, May 26,
8:15 p.m.
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