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Starry Heavens Newsletter
March 2021

What's March without a little madness?
March Madness = A red planet namesake, a Conjunction, an Equinox, a full moon to “Crow” about
The month of March is named after the Roman god of war and a planet: Mars
In ancient Rome, several festivals of Mars took place in March because that was the earliest month of the year when the weather was mild enough to start a war. The Romans and Greeks associated the planet with war because its color resembles the color of blood.

At one time, March was the first month in the Roman calendar. The Romans changed the order of months several times between the founding of Rome and the fall of the Roman Empire.
The fourth planet from the Sun – Mars is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. It is also a dynamic  planet with seasons, polar ice caps, canyons, extinct volcanoes, and evidence that it was even more active in the past.
Mars is one of the most explored bodies in our solar system, and it's the only planet where we've sent rovers to roam the alien landscape.

After a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). NASA’s next-generation Perseverance rover - the largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021. Perseverance is one of three spacecraft that arrived on Mars in 2021. The Hope orbiter from the United Arab Emirates arrived on Feb. 9, 2021. China’s Tianwen-1 mission arrived on Feb. 10, 2021, and includes an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. Europe and India also have spacecraft studying Mars from orbit.
No other planet has captured our collective imagination quite like Mars. Of all the planets in our solar system many have thought Mars is the most similar to Earth and for that reason might have life or may have had life in its distant past. In the late 1800s when people first observed the canal-like features on Mars' surface, many speculated that an intelligent alien species resided there. This led to numerous stories about Martians. The recent Preservation mission aims to determine if ancient microbial life existed on Mars.

The Preservation mission will add to what we know about Mars, which is a lot but here are a few of the most interesting facts: 
1) If the Sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a dime, and Mars would be about as big as an aspirin tablet.
2) Mars orbits our Sun, a star. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun at an average distance of about 228 million km (142 million miles) or 1.52 AU. 
3) One day on Mars takes a little over 24 hours. Mars makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Martian time) in 687 Earth days. 
4) Mars is a rocky planet. Its solid surface has been altered by volcanoes, impacts, winds, crustal movement and chemical reactions. Mars is known as the Red Planet because iron minerals in the Martian soil oxidize, or rust, causing the soil and atmosphere to look red.
5) Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2), argon (Ar), nitrogen (N2), and a small amount  of oxygen and water vapor. At this time, Mars' surface cannot support life as we know it. Current missions are determining Mars' past and future potential for life.
6) Mars has two moons named Phobos and Deimos.
There's more to see in the March Sky

On March 5, you may be able to see the Jupiter-Mercury conjunction just before daybreak over the eastern horizon. A conjunction occurs when two astronomical objects, in this case planets,  appear to be near each other as observed from Earth. While Jupiter is pretty bright and easier to see, the bright light of the Sun hampers Mercury's visibility because it is the closest planet to the Sun making it a little harder to see.  
March 19 marks the vernal or spring equinox  and marks the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere and marks the beginning of fall in the southern hemisphere. Be sure to check out Dan Collura’s video on our Hokulani Online Resources at “Hokulani At Home”.
March 28
marks the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter to the Native American Indians. 

The full moon in March was also known by several other names:
  • It was also called the Full Worm Moon due to warming temperatures allowing the ground to thaw revealing earthworm casts, heralding the return of the robins.
  • The more northern Native American tribes also referred to it as the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from temperatures falling by day and freezing at night.
  • Early American colonists referred to it as the Full Sap Moon marking the time to begin to collect sap from maple trees.
Our Online Resources Update
Hokulani At Home contains a discussion of the Spring Equinox that occurs March 19.

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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