Check out the upcoming events and news from the Hokulani Imaginarium!

Starry Heavens Newsletter
December 2020

Aloha Kakou
Thank you to everyone who continues to read the newsletter and check out our website.

We are adding new online resources to our website to bring the Imaginarium experience to you at home.  Click on "Hokulani Online Resources" (or look for the link on our home page). You will see on the left a list of topics: Curriculum Resources, Hands On Science, Hokulani At Home, Stargazing Podcast, Star Stories, and Virtual Tours.

What's new in December?
Hokulani At Home features the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which can be seen with the naked eye from late November through December but will be at its closest Dec. 21.
Our Star Stories  section premiered later in November than we anticipated with a tale of the Chinese Qixi festival and the Summer Triangle stars. New star stories will be coming in the new year.

Seasonal Greetings from the Imaginarium
Remember these? Click on the link below for a wee bit of seasonal nostalgia.

December - a great month for looking up
December has two conjunctions, one of which is a great conjunction, the Geminid meteor shower Dec. 13, the winter solstice Dec. 21, and the official start of the Makahiki Season Dec. 15, not to mention keeping an eye out for Santa. The real show stopper is the greater conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn Dec. 21.

Greater conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn
From November 18 to December 21, 2020, as darkness falls,  locate the gas giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, now headed for their once-in-20-years great conjunction on the December 21, solstice. Jupiter is the brighter of these two worlds, outshining Saturn by 12 times. Even so, Saturn is respectably bright, shining as brightly as a 1st-magnitude star. Of course, in our December 2020 sky, these two worlds – Jupiter and Saturn – are exceedingly noticeable for their nearness to each other.

This upcoming Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will be the closest Jupiter-Saturn conjunction since July 16, 1623. These two worlds will be within 6 arc minutes (0.1 or 1/10 degree) of one another on December 21, 2020.

A similarly close conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn won’t happen again until March 15, 2080!

Look first for Jupiter – brightest star like object up each evening – and that nearby golden “star” will be the planet Saturn.

At present, Jupiter and Saturn lodge about 4 degrees apart from one another on the sky’s dome. For reference, the width of two fingers at arm’s length approximates 4 degrees of sky. Day by day, Jupiter is moving closer and closer to Saturn on our sky’s dome now. These two giant worlds will meet for their glorious conjunction on December 21. .Jupiter and Saturn are in conjunction with each other on an average of once about every 20 years. When they come closest to each other they are usually separated by about a degree or two. But on Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will provide a rare opportunity as this will be the "tightest" conjunction of these two worlds since 1623; they will be separated by just one-fifth of the apparent diameter of the full moon! 

What was happening in 1623 - the last time Jupiter and Saturn were this close?

  • The history of insomnia officially began in 1623 when the word insomnia was put in the dictionary. Insomnia is composed of the Latin words "in" that means "not" and somnus which means sleep. So, as you might expect, insomnia meant no sleep.
  • November 29, 1623 Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony proclaimed a day of "Thanksgiving" that has come to be knows as the first official Thanksgiving celebration.
  • Galileo witnesses the 1623 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn with his improved telescope that let him observe and describe the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, sunspots and the rugged lunar surface. Galileo actually improved his telescope in 1609 fourteen years before the great conjunction. His motivation was to see for himself the accuracy of Copernicus's heliocentric model of the solar system published in 1543.

Leleakuhonua (Photo credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

is a new Hawaiian name for a dwarf planet, thanks to the work of 30 Hawaiian immersion school kumu (teachers). ʻImiloa Astronomy Center announced the name for Leleakūhonua (previously cataloged as 2015 TG387), which was discovered by the Subaru Telescope atop Maunakea and has the largest orbit of any dwarf planet or trans-neptunian object in our solar system.

Leleakūhonua references a life form mentioned in the Hawaiian creation chant, the Kumulipo. The name compares the dwarf planet’s orbit to the flight of migratory birds, and evokes a yearning to be near the Earth.

This is the sixth world-renowned astronomical discovery named by the ʻImiloa program, A Hua He Inoa. The Hawaiian naming program partners with the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. In July 2020, Hawaiian immersion kumu recruited by A Hua He Inoa through an inservice teacher development program named two celestial discoveries; dwarf planet Leleakūhonua and massive quasar Pōniuāʻena.


For more information about  Imaginarium shows and events contact:
Manager, Dineene O‘Connor, at 808-235-7350 or                                                                              


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 tickets at the Imaginarium Box Office at least 15 minutes prior to showtime.
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

Dream to Fly
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Phantom of the Universe 
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Stargazing with
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Stars of the Pharaohs
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