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Starry Heavens Newsletter
May 2021

Reasons for Looking Up In May

Stars and Constellations
In May, the winter constellations are lower in the west, and Orion, Taurus, and Canis Major are already in the process of setting at the beginning of the night, along with Cassiopeia and Perseus to the northwest.  The spring constellations are higher now, and we can see the rest that weren't up this time last month. Hercules is below Boötes in the east-northeast.  Some of the summer constellations are also getting ready to come up and will be visible a few hours after sunset.

Solar System
Mercury will be passing behind the Sun in April, but will be visible in the evening sky during May.
Venus is lost in the glare of the Sun for much of April, but will start to emerge in the evening sky by May.
Mars starts off high in the west after sunset, but gradually gets lower each night.  It will move through Taurus and Gemini.
Jupiter is visible in the morning sky, gradually getting higher and higher.  It is moving from Capricornus into Aquarius.
Saturn stays in Capricornus, slowly separating itself from Jupiter.

Supermoon Number Three

The last of this spring's three supermoons. The first occurred March 28, 2021 and was instrumental in dislodging the Ever Given cargo ship that had become stuck in the Suez Canal. The second supermoon of Spring 2021 occurred April 26, 2021 and the third supermoon of the season will occur May 26, 2021. 
What is a supermoon? It’s a full Moon that occurs with the Moon’s perigee—the closest point to Earth in the Moon’s monthly orbit. As a result of the Moon’s orbit being slightly elliptical, which makes the full Moon sometimes look slightly larger.

Look east at sunset to see the May supermoon. In Hawaii it is not unusual for people to have moonrising picnics on the beach at a full moon, made more spectacular when it is a supermoon such as this picture of a May supermoon rising over Lanikai.

Lahaina noon in May
Lahaina noon is a bi-annual tropical solar phenomenon when the Sun culminates at the zenith at solar noon, passing directly overhead (above the subsolar point).[1] The term Lāhainā Noon was coined by the Bishop Museum in Hawai'i.

Check out the times for Lahaina noon on the various islands.

May 26: Total eclipse of the moon 

This total lunar eclipse favors the Pacific Rim, the geographic area surrounding the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Rim covers the western shores of North America and South America, and the shores of Australia, eastern Asia and the islands of the Pacific. Hawaii will get get a great view with the eclipse happening high in our sky in the middle of the night. The following times (HST) for viewing the eclipse are:
                  partial starts at 11:44 pm (May 25)
                  totality begins at: 1:11 am May 26
                  max total:    1:18 am
                  totality ends: 1:25 am
                  partial ends:  2:52 am
Across North America, western regions will be able to see the total phase and a part of the closing partial stages before moonset intervenes.

Of course Lahaina noon will occur before the total Lunar Eclipse on May 26, See  
University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy is at it again 
  IfA astronomers will help NASA generate a three-dimensional map of the universe.
University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) astronomers will play an instrumental role in helping unveil the universe’s very first galaxies, more than 13 billion light years away. On Monday, April 19, NASA announced the first suite of science programs for its groundbreaking James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), set to launch in October 2021. The IfA researchers are part of the “COSMOS-Webb” project, which will be the largest guest observer program in JWST’s first year of operation.
The IfA astronomers will conduct detailed follow-up observations of galaxies seen in the JWST images, using the telescopes on Maunakea. The JWST is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built and will succeed NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It is equipped to observe some of the most distant objects in the universe, using upgraded infrared sensitivity and resolution. Maunakea ground-based observations will turn the JWST images into a three-dimensional map of the universe.
David Sanders is the lead IfA investigator whose IfA team are part of a newly selected COSMOS-Webb program made up of 50 researchers from 30 worldwide institutions. The program will help NASA map the first galaxies formed in the dawn of the formation of the universe when the universe was less than 1/20th of its current age.
The program will utilize Maunakea’s W.M. Keck Observatory and the Subaru Telescope  to conduct spectroscopic follow-up to determine distances to all the galaxies found in the JWST inventory.
COSMOS-Webb is one of 286 general scientific observer programs NASA selected out of more than 1,000 proposals for the telescope’s first year of science. These specific programs will provide the worldwide astronomical community with extensive opportunities to investigate scientific targets. This work is an example of UH Manoa’s goal of advancing excellence in research as identified in the 2015-25 Strategic Plan and underscores the international reputation of Hawaii’s astronomical community whose research and commitment to excellence continues the legacy of the Kumulipo’s pronouncement that we come from the stars.                        
Our Online Resources Update
Hokulani Star Stories - 
A new star story - Ka Lupe O Kawelo, the great kite of Kawelo will be uploaded to the website during the month of May. 

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.

 *     *     *     *     *
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
Krissie Kellogg
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Stars of the Pharaohs
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