Maui Astronomy Club

Current Moon Phase

New Moon
New Moon

The moon is currently in Capricorn
The moon is 27 days old

Distance: 61 earth radii
Ecliptic latitude: 0 degrees
Ecliptic longitude: 286 degrees

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  • Weather

    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!



    Favorite “Planet” Revealed

    Aloha Pluto Pals!


    PLUTO IS NOT ALONE: New Horizons is now less than 4 days from Pluto. For years, the “dwarf” planet has been little more than a fuzzy blob in the eyepieces of distant telescopes. Not even the Hubble Space Telescope could see it clearly. Those days are over. On July 7th, New Horizons snapped this image of Pluto and its biggest moon Charon from a distance of only 5 million miles:

    Neither Pluto nor Charon is a “fuzzy blob.” Moreover, the crisp images reveal many interesting differences: The reddish materials that color Pluto seem to be completely absent on Charon. On Charon, only a dark polar region interrupts the light gray terrain. 

    “These two objects have been together for billions of years, in the same orbit, but they are totally different,” says Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. Stern is the principal investigator for the New Horizons mission.

    Charon is about 750 miles (1200 kilometers) across, about half the diameter of Pluto—making it the solar system’s largest moon relative to its planet. “Charon is now emerging as its own world,” adds John Spencer, another member of the science team at the SwRI. “Its personality is beginning to really reveal itself.” 

    On July 14th, when New Horizons makes its closest approach to the Pluto-Charon system, the images it beams back will have 500 times better resolution than we see today. Stay tuned!

    Here is a Hubble Image of Pluto and it’s 5 moons!!!
    Becky Sydney
    Maui Astronomy Club

    Maui Astronomy Tours now available!

    Becky Sydney, president of the Maui Astronomy Club, has recently started a new business; MAUI ASTRONOMY TOURS.   (808) 868-6020

    Tell your friends and spread the word.  Becky will meet you for an awesome sunset on Haleakala Volcano and then use a deep space telescope when the star pop out. She provides heavy coats, gloves, hats, blankets, and face cover.  Organic snacks and water are also included.  See the stars like you’ve never seen!  It’s magical.

    Haleakala is one of the best places in the world to see the stars.  The Milky Way is so bright you can read a book! With 300 clear nights per year, Hawaii is the only state in the USA that can see more than 80% of all stars in the sky AND see the Southern Cross (Springtime), Alpha Centauri (Springtime) and watch the Big Dipper dip beneath the horizon.  Amazing.

    Free Public Talk June 26, 2015

    Aloha all!  Mark your calendar.

    It is JD Armstrong’s pleasure to let you know about this month’s Maui Astronomy FREE Public Talk. 

    It will be on Friday June 26th, at 6:30 pm at the Maui Institute for Astronomy in Pukalani (below Longs Drug Store)
    Dr. Gary Greenberg will be talking about
    “The Art & History of the Microscope”.
    Dr. Gary Greenberg
    In the year 1600, the existence of a microscopic world was utterly unimaginable.  A few years later, Robert Hooke published his famous book, “Micrographia: Or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies made by Magnifying Glasses with Observations and Inquires Thereupon”. This was the world’s first best seller, and it revealed for the first time the hidden world that exists beyond our everyday perception. Since its invention, visionaries have used microscopes to save lives and reduce human suffering. Today, microscopes can image individual molecules and atoms, and have spawned the burgeoning field of nanotechnology.

    The Maui Institute for Astronomy is at 34 Ohia Ku Street in Pukalani. 
    It is the big green building between the upcountry Longs and Kemehameha Schools.  
    We hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it and would like to watch the talk live, we will have streaming video at:

    Please feel free to email JD with any questions.
    Dr. J. D. Armstrong
    University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
    34 Ohia Ku Street
    Pukalani, HI 96768

    Becky Sydney
    Maui Astronomy Club

    Romancing the Stars

    Aloha Star Lovers!

    You know in romantic movies where they show a man and woman running towards each other in slow motion?

    Eventually to embrace after much anticipation?
    Well…. this is the drama happening in the night sky after sunset!
    Look west and see Venus the goddess of Love and Beauty and Jupiter the King of the gods blazing through the twilight as the first “stars” that pop out after sunset.
    Venus is the brighter of the two and Jupiter sits above her…..reaching for her warm embrace.  Look how Venus is dazzling with rays….she really looks like a star!
    Watch in the next coming nights as Venus and Jupiter appear to travel towards each other night by night…..slowly closing the gap between them.
    On June 19,  behold the Magic Triangle….Venus, the crescent Moon and Jupiter forming a triangle in the west.
    file file
    Then, the big event, June 30 when Venus and Jupiter kiss!  It will be a beautiful sight to behold!  Mark your calendars.

    Venus in a Star Trap

    Aloha and Happy May Day and Lei Day!

    The heavens sure are celebrating.

    Check out the western sky tonight and the coming week.
    It’s going to be crazy busy! 
    The brightest stars in the sky, Aldebaran, Rigel, Betelgeuse, Sirius, Castor, Pollux, Capella, etc will act like a web of stars with Super Bright Venus captured inside.
    And watch little messenger Mercury …..he will quickly rise into the star web to make things more interesting.
    NOTE: Very few people ever see Mercury with the naked eye since its presence is quick, short and low in the sky. (see article below)
    FULL MOON PARTY: If you love the Full Moon, be sure to come to Fleetwoods on Front Street Saturday, May 2, 2015, from 7pm – 10pm.
    I will be there with my scope showing everyone the magic of the Moon.  I’m set up from 8pm -10pm.  There’s food, music and dancing.
    Mercury climbs quickly into view after sunset in early May as it hits the peak of its best evening appearance of 2015. The innermost planet orbits the Sun a bit like a moth drawn to a streetlight. The Sun’s glare hides Mercury much of the time, but at regular intervals, the world soars far enough from our star to show up just after sunset or before sunrise. This year, Mercury comes into view on evenings in January, May, September, and December; it appears before dawn in February, June, and October.
    MercuryfinderchartRead full article:

    Free Astronomy Talk Tonight

    April’s Maui Astronomy Public Talk will be given by Dr. Tom Schad.  
    Tom will be talking about “Life Around Our Active Star”. 
    The talk will be held at the Maui Institute for Astronomy. 
    The talk will be on Friday April 24 at 6:30 pm.

    “Over the centuries, humanity has tuned its existence to Earth’s seasons, created by our yearly travel around the Sun. At the dawn of the Machine Age, however, the seasons of the Sun itself proved influential to our progressing world.  In this talk, we will explore the cycles of solar activity, and study the impact of these cycles throughout the heliosphere and on our modern society.  We will learn of the interplay of new and old methods for the study of solar epochs, and anticipate the great advances of the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) currently being built on Haleakalā.”
    The Maui Institute for Astronomy is at 34 Ohia Ku Street in Pukalani — between the upcountry Longs and Kamehameha Schools.

    Total Lunar Eclipse Pics 4.4.15


    Thanks to those who made it to the Total Lunar Eclipse last night!
    What a blast! And very memorable!
    The lawn sprinklers came on during totality giving us all a jolt of adrenaline!
    We moved all the gear quicker than mercury while Steve (our hero) jumped on the gushing water like a grenade!
    Thanks again Steve!  We were able to enjoy the remaining hours.
    And Paul, thanks for bringing your computer and live steam from the Griffith Observatory with constant commentary by professional astronomers.
    That was great!
    The astronomers were commenting on how unusual this eclipse was with more bluish colors than expected.
    They also said that totality was longer than predicted.
    Next Total Lunar Eclipse visible from Maui will be January 31, 2018!
    Here are a few of my favorite pics.
     If you have a good one, send it along and I’ll share it with the club.


    ALOHA! Don’t forget about the Total Lunar Eclipse this Friday, April 3, 2015.

    The Maui Astronomy Club will be meeting at Kamaole 3 Beach Park in Kihei.
    Meet at 11:00 PM in grassy area – –  – park on the road side.
    If the weather doesn’t look good, we can CHASE THE MOON!  Be flexible.
    Maximum eclipse is around 2:00 AM…..I will probably leave Kihei shortly after totality.
    Bring a blanket, pillow, flashlight, and any snack or drinks for yourself.
    Look for the telescope with red glow sticks. 
    Bring your cell phone or camera to take photos through the telescope!
    Hope to see you there.
    Becky Sydney
    total-lunar-eclipse-april-15-mt-lemmon-skycenter-3Maui Astronomy Club

    2014 Year in Review

    What a great year of astronomy in 2014!
    Many discoveries, a few mysteries and 2 Total Lunar Eclipses visible from Maui!
    Here’s a short summary of news and events we experienced this year.
    2015 will be just as exciting with 2 more Total Lunar Eclipses and now after sunset, beautiful Venus will shine bright like a diamond!!
    Happy Holidays and see you next year, 2015 – Year of the Sheep or Goat 🙂

    January 2014: 

    Hebrew year 5774  –  Islam year 1435  –  Star Trek star date 308984

    Black Moon – 2 New Moons in one month  1/1/14 and 1/30/14
    John Dobson (Dobsonian Telescope inventor) died 1/15/14
    Strange donut shaped rock appears on Mars.  1/20/14
    John Dobson

    John Dobson

    donut rock on Mars

    donut rock on Mars

    Valentine’s Day Full Moon –  Maui sees a rabbit shape on the Moon.  2/14/14
    China’s lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, comes back to life!
    Vernal Equinox Party 3/20/14
    New Dwarf Planet found in our solar system……planet X?
    Declan magically balanced an egg during the equinox sunset.
    First asteroid discovered with rings!  Asteroid Cheriklo orbits between Saturn and Uranus.
    Total Lunar Eclipse  4/14/14
    LADEE Moon satellite crashes into Moon  4/18/14


    Maui sees Missile Test at sunset 5/20/14
    Maui Sky 5:20:14
    Jupiter, Mars and Saturn visible!  6/18/14
    Milky Way at La Perouse.  6/27/14


    Lahaina Noon day 7/16/14 – no shadow when sun is overhead.
    Super Moon and Perseids and Saturn’s hexagonal cloud  8/11/14
    Harvest Moon is another Super Moon!  9/8/14
    Moon occults Saturn. 9/27/14

    A perigee moon rises in Washington, DC,

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    2nd Total Lunar Eclipse of 2014   10/7/14
    Makahiki Season begins with rise of Pleiades star cluster.  11/5/14
    Rosetta Mission lands on comet!   11/12/14

    makahiki-pleiades-offerings-hawaiian-culture 2-photorelease

    Geminid Meteor Shower at La Perouse.  12/14/14
    Green Comet Lovejoy under Sirius.  12/19/14

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