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

Starry Heavens Newsletter
July 2022

July is a perfect time to visit us at the Imaginarium
Our July schedule opens with an Imaginarium favorite: Dream To Fly. Experience the adventure of achieving the immense and challenging dream of flying, with the program's powerful imagery.  July also features To Space and Back, which takes audiences on an incredible journey from the far reaches of our known universe to our own planet and is bound to become an old favorite.

Krissie Kellogg is back to host her ever popular Stargazing live-sky show July 13.

We wind up the month with Dawn of the Space Age, which re-lives the excitement of the early days of space exploration, from the launch of the first artificial satellite to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights; and Asteroid: Mission Extreme, takes audiences on a journey 65 million years in the making to discover how asteroids are both a danger and an opportunity for those of us on planet Earth

Bennu - An Asteroid - Osiris - A Nasa spacecraft - What do they have in Common?

Bennu asteroid. (Photo credit: NASA)
 In Egyptian mythology, the Bennu Bird was an animal-deity also with a primordial role and was associated with the deities Ra, Atum and Osiris. The Bennu bird was associated with rebirth, creation and the Sun and had close links with the phoenix, another famous bird from Greek mythology. 

In our modern reality, Bennu is a “rubble-pile” asteroid, meaning that it formed from the debris of a much larger asteroid that was destroyed by an ancient impact. Fragments from the collision coalesced under their own weak gravity to form Bennu. Its name may be due to its association with NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
Asteroid Bennu’s boulder-covered surface gives it protection against small meteoroid impacts, according to observations of craters by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The findings were reported in a study published in Nature Geoscience and co-authored by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa planetary geologist, David Trang.
The team studying Bennu used unprecedented, high-resolution global data sets to examine craters on Bennu.“Measuring craters and their population on Bennu was exceptionally exciting,” said Trang, an assistant researcher at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. “With Bennu, we discovered something unique to small and rocky bodies, which expanded our knowledge of impacts.”

Scientists estimate the age of planetary surfaces by measuring the abundance and sizes of craters, if the craters are not being erased by erosion from wind and water or buried by lava flows or other processes. Impact craters accumulate over time, so a surface with many craters is older than a surface with few craters. Also, the size of the crater depends on the size of the impactor, with larger impactors generally making larger craters. Since small meteoroids are far more abundant than large meteoroids, celestial objects like asteroids usually have many more small craters than large ones.

Bennu’s large craters follow this pattern, with the numbers of craters decreasing as their size increases, but only to a point. However, for craters smaller than about 6.6 feet, the trend is backwards, with the number of craters decreasing as their size decreases. This indicates something unusual is happening on Bennu’s surface.

The researchers think that Bennu’s profusion of boulders acts as a shield, preventing many small meteoroids from forming craters.The team also found that the number of small and large craters offered different estimates for Bennu’s surface age, revealing the asteroid’s long and winding road through space.

The result supports the idea that Bennu was formed in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but the pull of gravity from other objects in the solar system sent it to the region of space near Earth.

So What?! Who cares about boulders and asteroids anyway?!!!. . . . . .

Asteroids are more important than you might think. Learn more about them by visiting the Imaginarium Saturday, July 23, to see one of its newer feature films – Asteroid-Mission Extreme

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa also cares about asteroids as evidenced by the researchers who will soon begin a project titled Ka mālamalama o ka mahina: Building pathways for Indigenous lunar science in Hawaiʻi. The project seeks to improve participation and representation of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in planetary science.

Since the Apollo era, Hawaiʻi has had an important role in lunar exploration and science. Hawaiian basalts are often used as an analog for moon rocks and the moonwalkers of the Apollo missions were trained in Hawaiʻi. However, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have not been able to adequately share that history.  This project provides opportunities to participate in cutting-edge lunar science, and help to remedy this disconnect. It also creates a space for Indigenous youth to experience what planetary science has to offer.
Participating Native Hawaiian undergraduate and high school students will be connected with and supported by scientists at UH Mānoa to pursue innovative lunar science projects. Their work will contribute to understanding the present state of the lunar soil in regions around lunar lava tube skylights—pits on the Moon where lava tubes are thought to have collapsed. These features present a unique view of layering of basalt and have also been identified as locations for future human exploration and shelter.

This project underscores the various disciplines that are so important to the burgeoning space industry that are available at UH such as the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and the Institue for Astronomy.
And in case you didn’t know, the CAE offers a directed activity to measure crater impacts for small sized groups of 4th grade students and older. 

The Event Horizon Telescope did it again. . . .
The world now has an image of the giant occupying the darkness at the center of the Milky Way thanks to a collaborative effort among more than 300 researchers from 80 institutes around the globe, including 11 observatories, two of which are on the Big Island.

Astronomers on Thursday, May 12, unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, dubbed Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, pronounced “sadge-ay-star.” The image was produced by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, an array which linked together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single “Earth-sized” virtual telescope, which included the South Pole Telescope and The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and Submillimeter Array atop Maunakea.
Nasa photo James Clerk Twin telescopes atop Maunakea and South Pole telescope.

The South Pole Telescope is operated by an international collaboration led by the University of Chicago and located at NSF’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Its unique remote geographic location at the South Pole provides the Event Horizon Telescope its highest-resolution information and a 24-hour-a-day view of the galactic center.

The Event Horizon Telescope is the same global research team that in 2019 provided the first-ever image of a black hole, Pōwehi, also called M87*, which sits at the center of a galaxy called Messier 87. The two black holes look remarkably similar, despite Sgr A* being more than a thousand times smaller and less massive than Pōwehi.

Powehi black whole image above taken with EHT in 2019 is 55 million light years away and a 1000 times larger than Sgr A black hole at the center of our galaxy, a mere 27,000 light years away, yet the image of SagA black hole taken with the EHT below is very similar to Powehi.

Sera Markoff, co-chairperson of the Event Horizon Telescope Science Council and a professor of theoretical astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, concludes that, “Although we cannot see the event horizon itself, we can see light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole in both images of these two completely different types of galaxies and two very different black hole masses, but close to the edge of these black holes they look amazingly similar. This tells us that general relativity governs these objects up close, and any differences we see further away must be due to differences in the material that surrounds the black holes.”
“Now we can study the differences between these two supermassive black holes to gain valuable new clues about how this important process works,” said Event Horizon Telescope scientist Keiichi Asada from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taipei. “We have images for two black holes — one at the large end and one at the small end of supermassive black holes in the Universe — so we can go a lot further than ever before in testing how gravity behaves in these extreme environments.”
If you want to learn more about black holes be sure to look for a new feature film at the Imaginarium, Black Holes, when it is on the fall schedule in September.

More to see in our July Sky
  • July 4, Latest time Sunset ever occurs in Honolulu 7:18:53p..m.
  • July 13, Super Full Moon 8:37a.m. closest to Earth
  • July 13,  Perigean King Tides (2.72ft) 7:28p.m.
  • July 15, Conjunction of Moon and Saturn 6 degrees apart
  • July 18, Conjunction of Moon and Jupiter 5 degrees apart
  • July 21, Conjunction of Moon and Mars 0.5 degrees apart
Check out our Celestial Events calendar for more.
  • Reservations are recommended but no longer required.
  • Masks are required 
  • Proof of  vaccination and a photo ID are no longer required.
  • Please call 808-235-7350 for reservations.
  • Better yet email
  • Payment will be made on the day of the show at the ticket booth.
  • No credit card payments are taken. CASH or CHECK ONLY
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
Friday, July 1,

To Space and Back
Friday, July 1,

Stargazing with
Krissie Kellogg
Wednesday, July 13,

Dawn of the Space Age
Saturday, July 23,

Saturday, July 23,
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