Message from Lisa Wells:


This issue of Hoku focuses on several important milestones occuring to help our understanding of our solar system. A probe will be sent to land on a comet and a satellite orbiting Mars is mapping its upper atmosphere. Also, UNESCO has declared 2015 to be the International Year of Light. Enjoy!

We are grateful for your feedback and support of our venture. Feel free to send an email.


CFHT Community Outreach

Recent Past Events

July - August, 2014: This year marks CFHT's 35th anniversary, and the Thelma Parker Library asked us to set up a display in their entrance. We hope you were able to stop by the library to take a look at the milestones of the Observatory and the video.

Friends of Thelma Parker Library

Facebook page for Thelma Parker Library

Upcoming Events

November 8, 2014: CFHT and Keck Observatories will sponsor the Solar System Walk from 10am - 2pm which will start at the headquarters of Keck and end at the headquarters of CFHT down the main street in Waimea. The first 200 students completing the walk and obtaining a stamp from each booth will receive a free keiki ticket for the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, so get there early. There will be food and refreshments at the end of the walk.

Mars Booth Saturn Booth

November 20, 2014: The Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) workshop for 5th grade girls will be held at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay from 7:45am - 2 pm. This event is hosted by the American Association of University Women every year with help from local businesses, organizations(including CFHT), and individuals.i There will be exhibits and workshops to introduce girls to occupations which use math, science and technology. Click on the site below to learn more. Registration has already closed for the event however, contact information is on their website.


December 6, 2014: CFHT will be having its annual Star Party on the front lawn of our headquarters in Waimea starting right after the Christmas Parade down the main street. We will have exhibits inside, Ask an Astronomer, and viewing of the remote observing room during nightime observations. We will have telescopes set up on the front lawn for astronomical viewing, weather permitting. Come by and spend time with us while the traffic in town clears and enjoy some coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies.

January 24, 2015: The Ellison Onizuka Day will be held on the campus of UH Hilo from 8am to 3:15pm. Students from grades 4-12 wishing to participate must register online for this event. CFHT will have a booth so stop by and check us out. There is no registration fee. Go to the website below to learn more. This site will be updated in December with more details of the upcoming event.

Onizuka Day

CFHT celebrated its 35th Anniversary this year. The staff had a gathering for its employees, past and present with an array of food from Canada, France, and Hawaii. The children had a jumping castle and the staff played softball after the lunch. Click on a picture below to enlarge. A

The array of food prepared by staff members Our Executive Director, the chef The ED declares its lunch Don't forget dessert The jumping castle Softball Time Some of our daycrew are the best hitters

CFHT has hired a full time Outreach coordinator. We welcome back Mary Beth Laychak who is now the contact for teachers on the Big Island who wish to have classroom visits, arrange a tour of our facilities, or find good resources to use in their classroom. She will be establishing a CFHT Outreach forum for those who wish to be connected in the coming months.

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2015: International Year of Light

The year 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light. Here is a website that will highlight various events around the world. It also contains many resources for use by students and teachers. Keep an eye on the news section and watch some of the intriguing videos that have been produced by various institutions and companies. Perhaps you might come up with your own event. In the meantime, don't forget to come to our star party on Dec 6th.

International Year of Light

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When Galaxies Collide

As you may already know, our own Milky Way galaxy is on a collision course with its nearest companion galaxy, Andromeda. This site shows what we might see as the Andromeda galaxy gets closer to us if we lived for another 8 billion years. The CBS video is a view from a distance as Andromeda and the Milky Way collide.

When Galaxies Collide

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Rosetta Mission - Comet Rendezvous

The Rosetta mission has made its rendezvous with a comet and now in orbit, it will send the Philae lander to touch down on the comet on November 12th. For the first time we will have a close up view of the surface of a comet. Are they really dirty snowballs? The countdown is underway on their homepage.

Rosetta Mission

Rosetta Mission Landing Site

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Mars Atmosphere & Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Mission

The MAVEN mission is the first probe sent to collect information and study the Martian upper atmosphere. It will orbit Mars to help scientists understand the structure of the atmosphere and how it interacts with the solar wind. With the recent encounter of Mars with the comet Siding Springs on Oct. 19th, there may be some facinating pictures of a comet appearing soon on their webpage.

MAVEN Mission

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PBS Learning Media

Ordinarily we would not highlight a site like this without investigating it further, however, given the quality of the educational shows on PBS, this site could be potentially useful for teachers. At the bottom of the page are two links in particular. One link has productivity tools for teachers which may be quite useful. Also there is a link to enter their sweepstakes to win Samsung Galaxy tablets for the classroom. Good luck! (We will let you be the judge and hope that you will send us feedback on this site and its usefulness.)

PBS Learning Media

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Upcoming Astronomical Events
  • Eclipses - There will be a total solar eclipse occuring on March 8th, 2016. The line of totality will pass just N of the islands. From the island of Hawaii we will see about 63-65% of the sun covered. From Oahu it will have just over 70% coverage. For us maximum coverage will be just around 6:00pm as the Sun sinks low. NEVER EVER look directly at the Sun. Use a pinhole projection. If you have access to a small telescope with a good narrow filter then you could either project that image or use an eyepiece to look directly at the sun. You could also use a projected image from a pair of binoculars.

    NASA Solar Eclipse site

    There will be a total lunar eclipse in the evening of April 3rd starting at 11:01pm with totality occuring at 2:00am on the morning of April 4th. The entire eclipse will be visible from Hawaii. It is a lucky coincidence that Hawaii has two great opportunities in a row, like the one which occured in early October and now the very next one will be only slightly later in the evening.

    NASA Lunar Eclipse site

  • Meteor Showers -
    • The Orionid Meteor shower will peak at 7am on October 21st. Predictions are for 20 per hour and the Moon will not be rising until just before the sun. Look toward the constellation Orion before the sunrise for best viewing.
    • There are two meteor showers coming up that will be orginating from the constellation of Taurus. These are predicted to have very weak showings. The S Taurids will peak on the morning of November 5th before sunrise and the moon will be low to the W so this will be the better of the two. Predictions are for 10 per hour. The S Taurids will peak on the morning of November 12th but the moon will be high in the sky just before last quarter so it will be bright and make viewing the predicted 15 meteors per hour difficult to observe.
    • The Leonids meteor shower will be peaking after the sunrise on the morning of November 17th however, the moon will be bright with ~20% illimination but the predicted 20 per hour may still have a few nice fireballs.
    • The Geminids will peak on the morning of December 14th at 2am so it will be a reasonable time to watch. The moon will be at last quarter and thus 50% illuminated. However, the predictions are for 120 meteors per hour so this may still be worth the watch. The Geminids occassionally have a good fireball or two.
    All these meteor showers are best viewed from midnight to sunrise. Meteors should be visible for 1-3 days either side of the peak also. For more about watching meteor showers, check out the site for The American Meteor Society.
  • Planets -
    • Uranus will be 1.3 degrees from the Moon on November 4th. The occultation for this event is not visible from Hawaii however.
    • Jupiter will be 5 degrees from the last quarter Moon in the early hours of the morning of November 14th.
    • Uranus will be close to the Moon on December 1st in the early evening.
    • Jupiter will be close to the Moon in the early evening of December 11th.
    • Saturn close to the crescent Moon on the morning of December 19th.
    • Uranus will again be close to the Moon in the early evening of December 28th.
  • Comets - There are several challenging objects to find in the sky so check out updates at the Sky Hound site: Comet Chasing. You may need binoculars or a small telescope to see the faintest of these objects.
  • Solstice - The winter Solstice will occur on December 21st at 1:03 pm HST.

All times listed above are HST unless otherwise indicated. The link below contains many calendars and includes a nice section on astronomical events. Check it out!


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We gratefully acknowledge the following online sources: Google Search Engine, and the Science Daily.
This page is compiled by Lisa Wells, CFHT Remote Observer
This page is designed by Tito Jankowski, maintained by Lisa Wells, CFHT Remote Observer