Message from Lisa Wells:
CFHT Community Outreach
Recent Past Events
September, 2013: The Solar System Walk which is usually held around the start of the school year was cancelled. We hope to do this next year.
October 4th, 2013: There was a tour of Mauna Kea Observatories for participants in the ADASS meeting held at the Marriott Hotel in Waikoloa.
November 8th, 2013: The Country School in Waimea had their science fair from 8am to 11am. Scientists from CFHT went to talk with the students and give them feedback on their projects.
November 14th, 2013: Staff from CFHT will be attending the GEMS - Girls Exploring Math, and Science workshop held in Keauhou. This event is for any 5th grade girl who resides in the West Hawaii School Complex Area. There is a registration fee.
November 19th, 2013: There will be a Galaxy Forum Hawaii - Advancing Galaxy 21st Century Education and ILOA HQ in Waimea. This will be held at Waimea Community Education, 65-1184 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela HI, USA, from 5-7pm. This is a free public event, but seating is limited. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 808.885.3474 if you plan to attend.
November 25th, 2013: CFHT was to host the Hungarian Google Lunar X-Prize Team, Puli Space. They were going to visit the island on invitation from PISCES and UH Hilo. This event has been cancelled due to technical difficulties. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. If possible we will try to get them to attend our annual Star Party set for December 7th if they come to Hawaii.
December 7th, 2013: CFHT will have its annual Star Party after the Christmas parade in Kamuela. It will be held at our offices in Kamuela. Come by for refreshments, science activities, "Ask an Astronomer", and star gazing on the front lawn (weather permitting).
January 25th, 2014: This is Ellison Onizuka Science Day at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. This event honors Ellison S. Onizuka who died on the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 24th, 1985. The event runs from 8am to 3:15pm and is a fun day of science learning for students in grades 4-12. Check the website below for more information and registration in early January.
Astronaut Scott Carpenter Dies at 88 years old
This year we lost another of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. Scott Carpenter was a naval aviator turned astronaut, turned aquanaut. He was the third American to go into space, and the second to orbit the earth.
The hot corona around our sun has been a mystery since 1939. Scientists have not been able to understand the process until now. New observations have been taken which may well explain the hot corona around our nearest star.
Largest Known Star in the Milky Way Galaxy
A star has been discovered which is 1500 times the size of our sun. This very massive star is old, bright and highly evolved. Observations from the European Southern Observatory are discovering interesting things about this star.
The 11 Year Solar Cycle
The increase in solar activity indicates that we are close to the "solar max," as scientists call it, of the 11 year solar cycle. During this time the sun's magnetic field switches direction. We know this because the polarity of the sunspots change. The peak has been unusually quiet though there has been some spectacular northern lights produced.
Many people have been reporting seeing aurora in the northern part of the US over the past year. Below are some great sites that explain how they are formed and show videos taken 3 years ago. There was a major solar storm in 1859 which was known as the Carrington Event. This event was seen in the Caribbean. It was bright enough to wake up gold miners in the Rocky Mountains of the US. This event was also visible from Hawaii and Cuba. Extreme events however are exceedingly rare, occuring once every 500 years.
Comet ISON was discovered in September 2012 by two Russian amateur astronomers. It is currently streaking through the constellation Virgo low in the eastern sky in the morning. It is around 7-8th magnitude just barely visible to the naked eye though reports show it has brightened considerably during the 2nd week of November. Using binoculars, one would see a fuzzy star with a tail. It will be getting brighter as it approaches the sun so keep an eye on this object in the morning sky just before morning twilight begins.
Upcoming Astronomical Events
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!