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Starry Heavens Newsletter
May 2019

May Premiere at Hokulani Imaginarium

Join us Saturday, May 25, at 2:15p.m. for the premiere of Mayan Archaeoastronomy-Observers of the Universe.  This artistic interpretation of the universe intertwines science and mythology to take the viewer on a poetic journey of how the Mayans viewed and understood the Universe throughout their history. Please be sure to put it on your calendar.


We look forward to seeing you at the Imaginarium for this premiere.

As we reported in our November 2018 newsletter, two of the world’s most powerful telescopes, located atop Maunakea on Hawaiʻi Island, played a vital role in producing the world’s very first image of a black hole that now bears a Hawaiian name.

The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) and Submillimeter Array (SMA)  based on the top of Maunakea were part of the unprecedented Event Horizon Telescope project. JCMT is operated by the East Asian Observatory, SMA is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Astronomers collaborated with renowned UH at Hilo Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, Hawaiian language professor and cultural practitioner, Larry Kimura, for the Hawaiian naming of the black hole. Pōwehi, meaning embellished dark source of unending creation, is a name sourced from the Kumulipo, the primordial chant describing the creation of the Hawaiian universe. Pō, profound dark source of unending creation, is a concept emphasized and repeated in the Kumulipo, while wehi, or wehiwehi, honored with embellishments, is one of many descriptions of Pō in the chant.

“It is awesome that we, as Hawaiians today, are able to connect to an identity from long ago, as chanted in the 2,102 lines of the Kumulipo, and bring forward this precious inheritance for our lives today,” said Kimura. “To have the privilege of giving a Hawaiian name to the very first scientific confirmation of a black hole is very meaningful to me and my Hawaiian lineage that comes from Pō, and I hope we are able to continue naming future black holes from Hawaiʻi astronomy according to the Kumulipo.”

The naming of the first photographed black hole began in April 2017 with a groundbreaking observational campaign that brought together eight telescopes at six locations around the globe to capture an image of Pōwehi, a supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy. The announcement was made to the world on April 10, 2019.

“Maunakea makes this discovery and the spectacular image of Pōwehi possible,” said Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of JCMT. “Its perfect remote position, and the dry conditions on Maunakea’s summit, allow JCMT and SMA to collect the tiny amount of light that only touches our planet in a few very special places. Like the mountain itself, every drop of light we gather is precious.”

The SMA and JCMT telescopes are key members of the Event Horizon Telescope project, which links together strategically placed radio telescopes across the globe to form a larger, Earth-sized telescope powerful enough to see a lehua flower petal on the moon.


Israeli Lunar Lander Crashes into the Moon Falling  short of its goal
As reported in our April newsletter Israel's "Beresheet" lunar lander was carried into space February 22, 2019 by a Falcon 9 rocket in hopes of a soft landing on the Moon April 11. Unfortunately a failure in the spacecraft kept Beresheet from landing on the Moon successfully. Nevertheless, it was a tremendous effort and accomplished plenty in its short life - much is learned when things do not go perfectly.

SpaceIL and its Beresheet Lander were born from the Google Lunar X Prize, which challenged teams to land on the Moon, travel 500 meters on the lunar surface, and return images to Earth. Although the March 31, 2018, deadline for the $20 million award has come and gone, SpaceIL continued development. All told, the lander was a bargain at just under $100 million, funded mainly by the Israeli Space Agency and private donors.

The X Prize Foundation announced that SpaceIL could win a special $1 million Moonshot Award if Beresheet successfully landed on the lunar surface.  Just minutes after the moon crash,  X Prize founder and Executive Chairman Peter Diamandis and CEO Anousheh Ansari decided to make the award to  SpaceIL and IAI  despite failing to land on the Moon since they managed to touch the surface of the moon, which was the intent of the Moonshot Award.

Diamandis also noted, "besides touching the surface of the moon, they touched the lives and the hearts of an entire nation, an entire world, and schoolkids around the world."

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

Stars of the Pharaohs
Friday, May 3,
7:00 pm

Teachers – Stars of the Pharaohs  supports NGSS: 1-ESS1, 4-ESS1, 5-ESS1&3, MS-ESS1,

Pink Floyd
Dark Side of the Moon

Friday, May 3,
8:15 pm

with Krissie Kellogg

Wednesday, May 8,
7:00 pm

One World, One Sky,
Big Bird's Adventure

Saturday, May 25,
1:00 pm

Teachers: One World, One Sky supports NGSS: K-PS2

Between Earth and Sky

Saturday, May 25,
2:15 pm

Teachers - Maunakea, Between Earth and Sky supports NGSS:  2-ESS1&2, 4-ESS1, 5-ESS1&2, MS-ESS1&2,
Mayan Archaeoastronomy
double feature

Saturday, May 25,
2:15 pm

Teachers - Mayan Archaeoastronomy supports NGSS:  3-ESS2, 4-ESS1-3, 4-PS3 & 4, 5-ESS3, 5-PS3, MS-ESS1, MS-PS1-4
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