Maui Astronomy Club

Current Moon Phase

Waning Crescent Moon
Waning Crescent Moon

The moon is currently in Gemini
The moon is 24 days old

Distance: 59 earth radii
Ecliptic latitude: -1 degrees
Ecliptic longitude: 83 degrees

Image of the Day

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    Keeping an Eye on Mercury

    Look outside after sunset.  Face west and see if you can catch a glimpse of cute and quick Mercury!  It will be low in the sky with a beautiful crescent Moon above it.  On May 9, Mercury will pass directly in front of the Sun, called a transit.  In Hawaii, the transit will be in progress at SUNRISE.

    Such a quick moving planet, the ancient people depicted Mercury as the messenger god with winged shoes and a winged helmet!

    Also, tonight’s Moon will display “Earth Shine”……the dimly lit part of the Moon revealing the entire orb.  This is caused by sunshine bouncing off Earth onto the Moon.

    A beautiful sight!  Go see it tonight!

    Earthshine_2005-09-01    Unknown

    2016 Partial Solar Eclipse on Maui!

    Get ready for the March 8, 2016 Partial Solar Eclipse seen from Maui!
    A MUST SEE!   All can come!  Invite as many friends as possible!

    Eclipse begins:   4:35 pm     (Sun Altitude – 26 deg) 

    Max eclipse:       5:37 pm     (Sun Altitude – 12 deg)

    Eclipse ends:      6:31 pm     (Sun Altitude – 0 deg)

    Sunset:              6:33 pm

    Choose from 3 Locations to View Eclipse FREE through a Telescope
    1. House of the Sun (Haleakala) – 4pm – Sunset – arrive early because Solar Telescope guys scheduled wide load transports that may delay viewers 🙁
    2. Kalama Park Kihei – 2pm – 7pm – event hosted by National Solar Observatory and Maui Science Center
    3. Kaanapali, Hyatt Regency – 4pm – Sunset – Eddie Mahoney to provide telescope viewing near pool deck
    Chasing the Eclipse: I hope to set up on Haleakala, but if the weather is not good up there that day, I will chase the eclipse to Kihei…..if Kihei weather is not good, I’ll jam over to Kaanapali…..if Kaanapali has bad weather…..we’re out of luck!

    Planetary Line Up!


    SET YOUR ALARM FOR DAWN: The Great Naked-Eye Planet Show of 2016 is reaching its peak. For the next week, the five brightest planets in the solar system can be seen, all at once, in a great line stretched across the pre-dawn sky. Denis Crute photographed the quintet on Feb. 2nd just before daybreak at Woolgoolga, Australia:planets_strip

    Crute took the picture using a Nikon D5200 digital camera set to ISO 3200 (f3.5) for a 2 sec exposure. Other photographers may wish to note those settings, because there are some excellent photo-ops in the mornings ahead. On Feb. 3rd, the Moon will pass by Saturn in the constellation Scorpius: On Feb. 6thand 7th, the slender crescent Moon will form a lovely shape-shifting triangle with Venus and Mercury.

    Awesome Night with Ron Ghosh, Space Scientist

    Aloha Light Lovers!
    Thank you to those who made it to last night’s gathering on Haleakala and a HUGE THANK YOU to Dr. Ghosh!…….we experienced so much magic…..I don’t know where to begin!
    This was one of the BEST gatherings the Maui Astronomy Club has experienced!
    First when we arrived to watch sunset, we saw the BROCKEN SPECTRE…..a rainbow around our shadow cast into the clouds of the crater!!!!
     It was amazing!
    Wikipedia: A Brocken spectre (German Brockengespenst), also called Brocken bow or mountain spectre, is the apparently enormous and magnified shadow of an observer, cast upon the upper surfaces of clouds opposite the sun. The phenomenon can appear on any misty mountainside or cloud bank, even when seen from an aeroplane, but the frequent fogs and low-altitude accessibility of the Brocken, a peak in the Harz Mountains in Germany, have created a local legend from which the phenomenon draws its name. The Brocken spectre was observed and described by Johann Silberschlag in 1780, and has since been recorded often in literature about the region.
    Then we saw a QUADRUPLE RAINBOW….like the one in this photo!!!   I was screaming with joy!! I had never in my 25 years on Maui seen a quadruple!PastedGraphic-2PastedGraphic-2
    After all our excitement with the rainbows we met the equally exciting space scientist, DR. RON GHOSH!  (in the ball cap)
    Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 2.46.55 PM
    Wow, Ron is incredible!  We were hanging on every word and could talk with him all night!
    Ron has over 40 years of space experience….he has worked with NASA on many missions,  the Cassini Mission to Saturn to name a few.
    The Messenger Mission to Mercury was also one of Ron’s projects and we learned quite a bit about the secrets of Mercury.
    Ron also supervised the New Horizons Mission to Pluto and was telling us how Pluto’s atmosphere reaches all the way to it’s largest moon, Charon!
    We must have Dr. Ghosh back!  He is fascinating and such an eloquent speaker.
    He’s worked on many other projects including his latest project, Solar Probe Plus mission which will launch in 2018:  it will study the streams of charged particles the Sun hurls into space from an unprecedented vantage point: inside the Sun’s corona – its outer atmosphere – where the processes that heat the corona and produce solar wind occur. At closest approach, Solar Probe would zip past the Sun at 125 miles per second, protected by a carbon-composite heat shield that must withstand up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and survive blasts of radiation and energized dust at levels not experienced by any previous spacecraft.  See more about the mission here:
    During our time stargazing, we saw 2 unidentifiable flying objects (UFOs)  Even Dr. Ghosh was uncertain what they were!
    They were brighter than any star…the brighter one was probably -2 mag. and the other about -1 mag.
    They appeared parallel to each other in the SE part of the sky at about 25 degrees up and did not move like “normal” satellites.
    They seemed stationary and faded after a minute or so.  My husband thinks they were Russian rocket bodies but he can’t confirm it.
    Very cool.  It looked similar to the photo below.j2Lbhk1
    After almost everyone left, a huge fog bank rolled over us and created a DOUBLE MOON BOW!!!! (similar to photo below but a DOUBLE!)
    I couldn’t believe all the magic that happened in just 3 hours!!!!
    Can’t wait to do it again.

    THANKS AGAIN and hope to see you all again next month!

    Becky Sydney
    Maui Astronomy Club

    Astro Talk Friday 9.25.15


    Aloha all,

    We will be holding a public talk this Friday September 25th at 6:30 pm at the Maui IfA in Pukalani (below Longs Drug Store). 
    Our own Sifan Kahale will be talking about ” Pan-STARRS Operations Using Avatars In The Virtual World”.

    “I will spend an enjoyable hour “exposing” the other half of our audience that attends our public talks:  the avatars in the virtual worlds like Second Life.  Also, using virtual models of the Pan-STARRS observatories, I will go through the process of preparing our observatories for nightly operations and demonstrate how we find asteroids and near-Earth objects (NEOs).”

    For more information please email me or go to:

    Live streaming will be available at:


    Dr. J. D. Armstrong
    University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
    34 Ohia Ku Street
    Pukalani, HI 96768

    Farthest Galaxy Detected

    Here’s some cool news from…..

    A team of Caltech researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, Adi Zitrin, a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Scholar in Astronomy, and Richard Ellis – who recently retired after 15 years on the Caltech faculty and is now a professor of astrophysics at University College, London – describe evidence for a galaxy called EGS8p7 that is more than 13.2 billion years old. The universe itself is about 13.8 billion years old.

    Read entire article:

    Astro Talk Tonight! 8/28/15


    Aloha All,

    Apologies for the short notice.  We will be holding an astronomy public talk this Friday August 28th at 6:30 pm.  I will be giving a talk entitled, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, How Do We Know What You Are?”  The talk will be held at the Maui Institute for Astronomy.

    “How we know something is perhaps as important as what we know. We know that stars are distant objects similar to the sun. How do we know that? In this talk you will take a journey to the stars. We will pay particular attention to the way we get there.”

    For more information please email me or go to:

    Hope to see you there.

    Dr. J. D. Armstrong
    University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
    34 Ohia Ku Street
    Pukalani, HI 96768

    Snow in Hawaii…in JULY!!


    Maui has had record breaking temperatures as of late, which is why snow on the Big Island is a complete shock to me.

    Last night I was on Haleakala with a tour of folks who wanted to see the Milky Way.

    We had 35mph winds and clouds that were like waves pounding over us.

    Around 9:15pm it started raining.  On the Big Island, it started snowing!