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Starry Heavens Newsletter
April 2021

                  Happy Easter

 Space Science and Spirituality . . . rendered in a special stained-glass window at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

If we remain unable to attend church on Easter, we can at least appreciate a beautiful stained-glass window that underscores how science and spirituality are connected. It is known as the Space Window – in the Washington National Cathedral and contains a moon rock collected by Apollo astronauts during the first moon landing. The black dot in the center of the big red circle in the stained-glass window is a moon rock from the historic 1969 Apollo 11mission. The unique design of the window is one of the most beloved and most photographed parts of the cathedral.

So, how did this unique collaboration come about? Frances Bowes Sayres Jr., dean of the Washington National Cathedral during the Apollo years, teamed up with Thomas Paine, the administrator who led NASA during the first seven Apollo moon missions. They came up with the idea of the Space Window as a symbol of our spiritual and scientific connections to the cosmos.

The moon rock enshrined in the window came from a two-pound sample affectionately called 10057, a piece of which also sat in President Clinton’s Oval Office. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, along with the third Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, presented the moon rock to Washington National Cathedral on July 21, 1974, five years and a day after they plucked the mineral from the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. It is the only moon rock NASA ever gave to a nongovernmental institution.

Using inspirations from photographs taken during the Apollo 11 mission, St. Louis artist, Rodney Winfield, created and crafted the window. The white path represents the track of the spacecraft between dark orbs and tiny stars. A quote from the book of Job (22:12) runs along the base of the window: “Is not God in the height of Heaven.”

The quote from the book of Job is quite significant since most biblical scholars agree that the book of Job is one of, if not the oldest book in the Bible thought to have been written 3500 years ago before Genesis. God takes Job to task regarding how little he knows about the Cosmos and its creation when he refers to several heavenly constellations:
“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion of the Earth?” (Job 38-33)

It is also quite significant to design and craft a stained-glass window that informs the public of the spiritual and scientific connections to the cosmos. While the Egyptians were likely the first to use colored glass for jewelry, perfume and tincture bottles, Romans used stained glass windows in their homes. However, stained glass windows that most of us are familiar with in churches began in the middle ages in the gothic period as a way to tell the stories of the Bible to those who could not read it since the Bible was largely written in Latin, a language of the clergy and not the common people.Consequently, having a space window in a cathedral is simply a visualization of Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Whether terrified or thrilled by the grandeur of the cosmos, there is no disputing that it is the source of all of us. Carl Sagan once said, “We are made of star stuff.” The Kumulipo, Hawaiian creation narrative proclaims that we come from the awesome unadulterated darkness of space. The chemical elements that shape the breadth of creation also form our galaxy, our planet and even the cells of our body. What better way to acknowledge the magnanimity of creation than a stained-glass window in a national cathedral marking man's first adventure into the cosmos?

SUPER MOON to the Rescue

Able to raise high tides a foot and a half over normal; able to lift 1300 foot vessels in a single bound. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, It's Super Moon!

In an effort to free the Ever Given cargo ship, which had veered off course during a sand storm, Khamsin, in the Suez Canal and embedded itself in the side of the canal, engineers on the salvage team looked to the heavens where the alignment of the Sun, Earth and Moon would give them the assistance they needed in the form of a Supermoon.

Tides are higher whenever there is a full or new moon, which occurs when the moon is in direct alignment with the Sun, with either the Earth or Moon in the middle of the three. This causes a greater gravitational pull on the Earth. As a result, high tides are higher, and low tides are lower. They are known as spring tides and occur twice a month.This time the effect was amplified by the first supermoon of the year, when a full moon coincides with the closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. Supermoons occur several times a year.

By Sunday night (March 28), the supermoon had caused tidal levels to exceed 6½ feet, some 19 inches above the high tide March 23 when the Ever Given ran aground. At 2 a.m. local time, the operation was aided by the arrival of a Dutch-flagged tugboat, the Alp Guard, with a pulling power of 285 metric tons. At approximately 5a.m. the effort managed to dislodge the ship’s bow from the eastern side of the canal and shift its stern 3,500 feet from the western side into the waterway.

The ship slowly began to break clear moving out south toward the Red Sea as the tide fellVideo footage from the scene recorded some of the crews cheering “Allahu akbar,” or God is great, as dawn broke.

Our Online Resources Update

Hokulani At Home - 
contains a "tour" of some of the less-visible but still famous objects in the constellation Orion also known in Hawaii as Ka Heihei o Na Keiki (literally, the string net of the children also known as the Cat’s Cradle game). The tour includes the following nebulas / deep-sky objects:
  • Great Orion Nebula (M42 & including M43)
  • Orion Molecular Cloud (in general)
  • Barnard's Loop
  • Flame Nebula
  • Horsehead Nebula
  • Herbig-Haro objects (at least one, there are a handful found in the area)
  • Witch Head Nebula
  • Running Man Nebula
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

Dream to Fly
future dateTBD

Phantom of the Universe 
future date TBD

Stargazing with
Krissie Kellogg
future date TBD
future date TBD
Stars of the Pharaohs
future date TBD
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