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Starry Heavens Newsletter
August 2018
2018 Fall Season of Imaginarium Shows

The Imaginarium's fall season of shows kicks off Friday August 3, at 7pm with "IBEX, Search for the Edge of the Solar System". Join scientists who are investigating the boundary between our solar system and the rest of our galaxy. The show follows the creation of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Get an in-depth look at how the IBEX mission is collecting high-speed atoms to create a map of our solar system's boundary.

At 8:15pm immerse yourself in a full dome experience of Pink Floyd's 1973 classic rock music album synched with computer generated imagery of mesmerizing waves of colors, images and animation.

This season the Imaginarium will feature a remastered "Star of Bethlehem: The Magi's Story" on December 7, in time for the holiday season and will reprise it on January 4, for the Epiphany celebrated January 6. Also, December 22, will be a holiday special flat rate of $5 for the 1:00pm and 2:00pm shows - our way of saying "Mele Kalikimaka" to our valuable patrons.

Please note that the Friday evening shows for the fall season are the first Friday of the month (as opposed to the fourth Friday of the month) and the Saturday afternoon shows are the fourth Saturday of the month (as opposed to the second Saturday of the month). Stargazing live-sky segment shows with Krissie Kellogg continue to be the second Wednesday of each month at 7pm.

As always, we look forward to seeing you at the Imaginarium.

August 12-13: Perseid Meteor Shower
Considered one of the most intense annual meteor showers, the Perseids regularly produce up to 60 shooting stars an hour at their peak. This year promises to be particularly good in terms of performance, since the peak will coincide with a dark, moonless sky on the night of August 12 and into the predawn hours of August 13. The thin crescent moon will set during the early evening, creating excellent viewing conditions across the Northern Hemisphere. Perseus is a constellation that we won’t see in the night sky until around November. However, if we could turn off our atmosphere we could see Perseus now in the daytime. Nevertheless, on August 12, we will see the meteors that originate in the Perseus constellation until nearly dawn. Even if you can’t stay up late to catch the Perseids, wake up early and you may see a few before the sun comes up.

Hawaiʻi Telescopes Help Unravel Long-standing Cosmic Mystery

Astronomers and physicists around the world, including at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy, have begun to unravel a long-standing cosmic mystery. Using a vast array of telescopes in space and on Earth, they have identified a source of cosmic rays: highly energetic particles that continuously rain down on Earth from space.

Artist’s impression of a blazar emitting neutrinos and gamma rays. (Credit: IceCube/NASA)

In a paper published July 2018 in the journal Science, scientists have, for the first time, provided evidence for a known blazar, designated TXS 0506+056, as a source of high-energy neutrinos. A blazar is an active galactic nucleus (AGN) with a jet composed of ionized matter traveling at nearly the speed of light directed very nearly towards Earth. The blazar category includes two categories of active galactic nuclei: low power radio galaxies referred to as BL Lac objects and powerful radio-loud quasars referred to as  optically violently variable (OVV) quasars. The term blazar was coined by astronomer Edward Speigel in 1979 to denote the combination of the two classes of active galactic nuclei.

The paper recently published in the journal Science documents the events of September 2017 that detected the high energy neutrino.  At 8:54 p.m. on September 22, 2017, the National Science Foundation-supported IceCube neutrino observatory at the South Pole detected a high energy neutrino from a direction near the constellation Orion. Just 44 seconds later an alert went out to the entire astronomical community known as the All Sky Automated Survey for Super Novae (ASAS-SN). The ASAS-SN is an international collaborative network of twenty 14-centimeter telescopes located in Hawaii (on Haleakala and Maunakea), Texas, Chile, and South Africa that scan the visible sky every 20 hours looking for very bright supernovae. The ASAS-SN is the only real-time variable survey in existence.

According to Ben Shappee, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii's IFA Institute for Astronomy and an ASAN-SN core member, when ASAS–SN receives an alert, the IceCube neutrino observatory automatically finds the first available ASAS–SN telescope that can see that area of the sky to observe it as quickly as possible.

On September 23, 2017 thirteen hours after the initial alert, the recently commissioned ASAS–SN unit at McDonald Observatory in Texas mapped the sky in the area of the neutrino detection. Those observations and the more than 800 images of the same part of the sky taken since October 2012 by the first ASAS–SN unit, located on Haleakalā, showed that TXS 0506+056 had entered its highest state since 2012.

About 20 observatories on Earth and in space have also participated in this discovery. This includes the 8.4-meter Subaru Telescope on Maunakea, which was used to observe the host galaxy of TXS 0506+056 in an attempt to measure its distance, and thus determine the intrinsic luminosity, or energy output, of the blazar. These observations are difficult, because the blazar jet is much brighter than the host galaxy. Disentangling the jet and the host requires the largest telescopes in the world, like those on Maunakea.

This discovery demonstrates how the many different telescopes and detectors around and above the world can come together to tell us something amazing about our Universe. It also emphasizes the critical role that telescopes in Hawaii play in the worldwide astronomical community.

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:
  • $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
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

IBEX, Search for the Edge
of the Solar System
Friday, August 3,
7:00 pm
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of
the Moon
Friday, August 3,
8:15 pm
Stargazing with
Krissie Kellogg
Wednesday, August 8,
7:00 pm 

Magic Treehouse,
Space Mission
Saturday, August 25,
1:00 pm
Cowboy Astronomer,
Saturday, August 25,
2:00 pm
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