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

Starry Heavens Newsletter
November 2021


Joseph Ciotti, Project Imua Manager took great delight in the announcement that the UHCC Project Imua Mission 9 Team took FIRST PLACE in the EXTREME ALTITUDE Hybrid Motor Competition at the 2021 ARLISS rocketry competition at Black Rock, Nevada. The WCC team (under the mentorship of Dr. Jacob Hudson) designed and assembled the hybrid rocket that carried a scientific payload developed by our HCC team partner. The WCC team, which has been testing hybrid motors (solid-liquid fuel) for the past two years, conducted the first successful ignition of a hybrid motor in the State of Hawaii in January 2020.

In addition, two WCC students (Nikki Arakawa and Quinn Patrick O’Malley) were each awarded SECOND PLACE in the EXTREME ALTITUDE Contest for their Class  H and I solid rockets that they built and launched.
WCC and HCC are currently collaborating on UHCC Project Imua Mission 10 to develop a scientific payload that will be launched into sub-orbital flight summer 2022 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This will be Project Imua’s fourth payload launched into outer space. Mission 10 is being funded by Hawaii Space Grant Consortium.

Capt Kirk in space is not news – But William Shatner in space – now that’s a different story.

Boldly going where just astronauts, a few civilians, and a couple of billionaires have gone before, William Shatner – that's Star Trek’s Captain Kirk to you –blasted into space October 12 aboard the Blue Origin spaceflight. 
Living up to his Captain Kirk persona on Star Trek, Shatner boldly went where no 90-year old has gone before. Not only did he become the first sci-fi actor to leave the atmosphere, but he became the oldest person to ever go to space, beating Mercury 13 legend Wally Funk, who at 82 was recently the oldest person to fly to space. Like Funk, Shatner was  invited as a guest of Blue Origin.
Over the course of 10 minutes and 17 seconds, Shatner and three crew mates took off atop a hydrogen-fueled rocket, climbed to "The" edge of space 65.8 miles up and enjoyed three to four minutes of weightlessness, along with spectacular views of Earth, before plunging back to a gentle parachute-assisted touchdown.

Within minutes, Bezos and Blue Origin recovery crews were on the scene to open the spacecraft's hatch and welcome Shatner, Australian entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen, microbiologist Glen de Vries and Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers back to Earth.

"It was so moving to me," Shatner said. "This experience is something unbelievable."
He said he was overwhelmed, and that Bezos has given him the most profound experience he can imagine. "I'm so filled with emotion about what just happened ... it's extraordinary," he told Bezos. 

"I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now," he said. "I don't want to lose it."

Speaking to Gayle King of CBS Mornings’ before the launch, Shatner said, "I want to see space; I want to see the Earth; I want to see what we need to do to save Earth. I want to have a perspective that hasn't been shown to me before. That's what I'm interested in seeing."Seeing is believing as they say.

Boshuizen and de Vries paid undisclosed sums for their seats aboard the New Shepard, but Shatner was an invited guest of Blue Origin. Powers, a former NASA flight controller now Blue Origin vice president of flight operations, flew as a company representative.


Being in the middle of the Pacific we missed it. But if you happened to be in the northern part of the “mainland” maybe you saw the effects of the solar flare on the aurora borealis. If you want to know more about solar flares check out the Imaginarium’s link below.
On Saturday, October 9, NASA detected a solar flare that launched a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly at Earth, setting off a geomagnetic storm late Monday.

The storm created the potential for Aurora Borealis to light up parts of the northern hemisphere between dusk and dawn this week.

On Monday, October 11, social media lit up with stunning videos of dancing lights captured in skies across western Canada and the territories.

If clouds were not in the way, people in northern-tier U.S. states, like New England and Washington, had additional chances to glimpse the lights Tuesday and Wednesday, October 12 and 13.

The Sun emitted a significant solar flare peaking at 11:35 a.m. EDT on Oct. 28, 2021. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the Sun constantly, captured an image of the event.

The Aurora Borealis, also known as “the northern lights”, are typically only a regular sight in the night sky in northern regions of Canada and Alaska. During a geomagnetic storm like we had on October 11, they can stretch all the way down to the Canada/U.S. border, and can be seen across nearly the entire country and even from the northern United States. Alongside the auroras, the flare may produce other occurrences as well, including power grid fluctuations and radio interference.
CBS Minnesota – Adam Svoboda


Northern lights, or aurora borealis, occur when solar particles collide with the Earth's atmosphere. Their color variety results from the presence of different types of gas particles in the atmosphere as well as the wavelength of emitted light.

Two of the most common elements in the Earth's atmosphere are oxygen and nitrogen. Oxygen is responsible for green and yellowish-green auroras. Blue, purple and reddish-purple auroras are rare in comparison and are created with the help of nitrogen.

Reasons to look up in October
Nov. 2-3: The annual South Taurid meteor shower peaks overnight. Active from mid-September to mid-November, the Southern Taurids rarely produce more than five visible meteors per hour, but the nearly-new moon should make them easier to spot against a dark sky. 
Nov. 4: The new moon arrives at 11:15 a.m. HST (2115 GMT).
Nov. 4: Uranus is at opposition, meaning it will appear at its biggest and brightest of the year. Shining at magnitude 5.7, the planet will be visible all night long in the constellation Aries. Uranus may be to the naked eye from dark locations but is best seen through a telescope or binoculars. 
Nov. 7: Daylight Saving Time ends. Don't forget to convert EDT to HST (- 5 hours from EDT). This applies not only to Hawaii but Arizona, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Nov. 8: Conjunction of the moon and Venus. The waxing crescent moon will pass about 1 degree to the north of Venus. Look for the pair above the western horizon after sunset. Skywatchers in parts of Eastern Asia will see the moon occult Venus, meaning it will briefly pass in front of the planet, blocking it from sight.
Nov. 10: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the evening sky. 
Nov. 11: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The first-quarter moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the evening sky.
Nov. 11-12: The annual North Taurid meteor shower peaks overnight. The shower, which is active from late October to mid-December, is not expected to produce more than a handful of visible "shooting stars" per hour.
Nov. 16-17: One of the most anticipated meteor showers of the year, the Leonid meteor shower peaks overnight. The Leonids are expected to produce about 15 meteors per hour on the night of the peak, but the shower is active all month long. 
Nov. 17: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the NASA's Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 
Nov. 19: The full moon of November, known as the Full Beaver Moon, occurs at 10:58 p.m. HST (0858 GMT). 
Nov. 19: partial lunar eclipse will be visible from North and South America, Australia, and parts of Europe and Asia. The moon will enter Earth's faint outer shadow, known as the penumbra, at 8:02 p.m. HST (0602 GMT). The partial eclipse, when the moon will darken more noticeably, begins at 9:18 p.m. HST (0718 GMT). Maximum eclipse occurs at 11:02 p.m. HST (0902 GMT). The entire event will last about six hours. 
Nov. 24: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

Our Online Resources Update
Hokulani Star Stories - 
A new star story - Hina, Hawaiian Goddess of the Moon, will be uploaded to the website during the month of November. 

For 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
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