Astronomy Resources

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2020 Skymaps and Astronomy Highlights

Bishop Museum provides free downloads of astronomy resources for personal use. For commercial use or distribution, contact us at planetarium@bishopmuseum.org

Hawai‘i Sunrise & Sunset Times

To determine sunrise/sunset times at locations other than Honolulu, use the corrections provided below the table. If your specific location is not listed, use the same correction as the nearest town that has not been corrected for elevation (elevation correction is indicated by an asterisk*).

Date Sunrise Sunset
January 1 7:10 6:01
January 2 7:10 6:02
January 3 7:10 6:03
January 4 7:10 6:03
January 5 7:11 6:04
January 6 7:11 6:05
January 7 7:11 6:05
January 8 7:11 6:06
January 9 7:11 6:07
January 10 7:12 6:07
January 11 7:12 6:08
January 12 7:12 6:09
January 13 7:12 6:09
January 14 7:12 6:10
January 15 7:12 6:11
January 16 7:12 6:11
January 17 7:12 6:12
January 18 7:12 6:13
January 19 7:12 6:13
January 20 7:12 6:14
January 21 7:12 6:15
January 22 7:12 6:15
January 23 7:11 6:16
January 24 7:11 6:17
January 25 7:11 6:17
January 26 7:11 6:18
January 27 7:11 6:19
January 28 7:10 6:19
January 29 7:10 6:20
January 30 7:10 6:21
January 31 7:10 6:21
  All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time. Add ten hours for Universal Time.
 
Date Sunrise Sunset
February 1 7:09 6:22
February 2 7:09 6:22
February 3 7:08 6:23
February 4 7:08 6:24
February 5 7:08 6:24
February 6 7:07 6:25
February 7 7:07 6:25
February 8 7:06 6:26
February 9 7:06 6:27
February 10 7:05 6:27
February 11 7:05 6:28
February 12 7:04 6:28
February 13 7:04 6:29
February 14 7:03 6:29
February 15 7:02 6:30
February 16 7:02 6:30
February 17 7:01 6:31
February 18 7:00 6:31
February 19 7:00 6:32
February 20 6:59 6:32
February 21 6:58 6:33
February 22 6:58 6:33
February 23 6:57 6:34
February 24 6:56 6:34
February 25 6:56 6:34
February 26 6:55 6:35
February 27 6:54 6:35
February 28 6:53 6:36
February 29 6:53 6:36
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time Add ten hours for Universal Time
DateSunriseSunset
March 16:526:36
March 26:526:36
March 36:516:37
March 46:506:37
March 56:496:38
March 66:486:38
March 76:486:38
March 86:476:39
March 96:466:39
March 106:456:39
March 116:446:40
March 126:436:40
March 136:426:41
March 146:416:41
March 156:406:41
March 166:406:42
March 176:396:42
March 186:386:42
March 196:376:42
March 206:366:43
March 216:356:43
March 226:346:43
March 236:336:44
March 246:326:44
March 256:316:44
March 266:306:45
March 276:306:45
March 286:296:45
March 296:286:46
March 306:276:46
March 316:266:46
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunriseSunset
April 16:256:47
April 26:246:47
April 36:236:47
April 46:226:47
April 56:216:48
April 66:206:48
April 76:206:48
April 86:196:49
April 96:186:49
April 106:176:49
April 116:166:50
April 126:156:50
April 136:146:50
April 146:146:51
April 156:136:51
April 166:126:51
April 176:116:52
April 186:106:52
April 196:106:52
April 206:096:53
April 216:086:53
April 226:076:54
April 236:066:54
April 246:066:54
April 256:056:55
April 266:046:55
April 276:046:55
April 286:036:56
April 296:026:56
April 306:026:57
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time

Add ten hours for Universal Time

DateSunriseSunset
May 16:016:57
May 26:006:57
May 36:006:58
May 45:596:58
May 55:586:58
May 65:586:59
May 75:576:59
May 85:577:00
May 95:567:00
May 105:567:00
May 115:557:01
May 125:557:01
May 135:547:02
May 145:547:02
May 155:537:03
May 165:537:03
May 175:537:03
May 185:527:04
May 195:527:04
May 205:527:05
May 215:517:05
May 225:517:06
May 235:517:06
May 245:507:06
May 255:507:07
May 265:507:08
May 275:507:08
May 285:507:08
May 295:497:09
May 305:497:09
May 315:497:10
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunriseSunset
June 15:497:10
June 25:497:10
June 35:497:11
June 45:497:11
June 55:497:11
June 65:497:12
June 75:497:12
June 85:497:12
June 95:497:13
June 105:497:13
June 115:497:14
June 125:497:14
June 135:497:14
June 145:497:14
June 155:497:15
June 165:497:15
June 175:507:15
June 185:507:16
June 195:507:16
June 205:507:16
June 215:507:16
June 225:527:16
June 235:527:17
June 245:527:17
June 255:527:17
June 265:527:17
June 275:527:17
June 285:527:17
June 295:527:17
June 305:537:18
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time.

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunriseSunset
July 15:537:18
July 25:537:18
July 35:547:18
July 45:547:18
July 55:547:18
July 65:557:18
July 75:557:18
July 85:567:18
July 95:567:18
July 105:567:18
July 115:577:17
July 125:577:17
July 135:577:17
July 145:587:17
July 155:587:17
July 165:597:17
July 175:597:16
July 185:597:16
July 196:007:16
July 206:007:16
July 216:017:15
July 226:017:15
July 236:017:15
July 246:027:14
July 256:027:14
July 266:037:13
July 276:037:13
July 286:037:13
July 296:047:12
July 306:047:12
July 316:057:11
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time.

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunriseSunset
August 16:057:11
August 26:057:10
August 36:067:10
August 46:067:09
August 56:077:09
August 66:077:08
August 76:077:07
August 86:087:07
August 96:087:06
August 106:087:05
August 116:097:05
August 126:097:04
August 136:097:03
August 146:107:03
August 156:107:02
August 166:107:01
August 176:117:00
August 186:117:00
August 196:116:59
August 206:126:58
August 216:126:57
August 226:126:57
August 236:136:56
August 246:136:55
August 256:136:54
August 266:136:52
August 276:146:52
August 286:146:51
August 296:146:50
August 306:146:49
August 316:156:48
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time.

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunrise (a.m.)Sunset (p.m.)
September 16:156:48
September 26:156:47
September 36:166:46
September 46:166:45
September 56:166:44
September 66:166:43
September 76:176:42
September 86:176:41
September 96:176:41
September 106:176:40
September 116:186:39
September 126:186:38
September 136:186:37
September 146:186:36
September 156:196:35
September 166:196:34
September 176:196:33
September 186:196:32
September 196:206:31
September 206:206:30
September 216:206:29
September 226:206:28
September 236:216:27
September 246:216:26
September 256:216:25
September 266:216:24
September 276:226:23
September 286:226:22
September 296:226:21
September 306:236:21
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time.

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunriseSunset
October 16:236:20
October 26:236:19
October 36:236:18
October 46:246:17
October 56:246:16
October 66:246:15
October 76:256:14
October 86:256:13
October 96:256:12
October 106:266:12
October 116:266:11
October 126:266:10
October 136:276:09
October 146:276:08
October 156:276:07
October 166:286:07
October 176:286:06
October 186:286:05
October 196:296:04
October 206:296:04
October 216:306:03
October 226:306:02
October 236:316:01
October 246:316:01
October 256:316:00
October 266:325:59
October 276:325:59
October 286:335:58
October 296:335:57
October 306:345:57
October 316:345:56
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time.

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunriseSunset
November 16:355:56
November 26:355:55
November 36:365:55
November 46:365:54
November 56:375:54
November 66:375:53
November 76:385:53
November 86:385:52
November 96:395:52
November 106:405:52
November 116:405:51
November 126:415:51
November 136:415:51
November 146:425:50
November 156:435:50
November 166:435:50
November 176:445:50
November 186:455:49
November 196:465:49
November 206:465:49
November 216:475:49
November 226:485:49
November 236:485:49
November 246:485:49
November 256:495:49
November 266:505:48
November 276:505:48
November 286:515:49
November 296:525:49
November 306:525:49
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

DateSunriseSunset
December 16:535:49
December 26:535:49
December 36:545:49
December 46:555:49
December 56:555:49
December 66:565:50
December 76:575:50
December 86:575:50
December 96:585:50
December 106:595:51
December 116:595:51
December 127:005:51
December 137:005:52
December 147:015:52
December 157:025:52
December 167:025:53
December 177:035:53
December 187:035:54
December 197:045:54
December 207:045:54
December 217:055:55
December 227:055:55
December 237:065:56
December 247:065:57
December 257:075:57
December 267:075:58
December 277:085:58
December 287:085:59
December 297:085:59
December 307:096:00
December 317:096:01
All times are Hawai‘i Standard Time

Add ten hours for Universal Time

 

2020 Astronomy Highlights

Every year Bishop Museum’s J. Watumull Planetarium (Honolulu, Hawaiʻi) provides a calendar of astronomical events specifically for Hawaiʻi’s location and time zone.

Most sources that list the times for moon phases, meteor shower peaks, the start of the seasons, and other events provide that information in Universal Time (UT), which is ten hours ahead of Hawaiian time. We’ve adjusted all times and dates on our calendar to reflect when they occur in Hawaiʻi Standard Time (HST).

This calendar also provides the dates and times for “Lāhainā noon” for many locations in the islands. Lāhainā noon is the term for the two days each year when the sun is exactly overhead. This only occurs in the tropics, and the dates vary depending on latitude.

For all meteor showers, the viewing will be better after midnight. This is because after midnight, the part of the Earth that you are on faces toward the debris that causes the meteor shower.

These repeating annual events are caused as the Earth enters into a field of debris left over from a specific comet (or, in the case of the Geminids, an asteroid). As the Earth goes around the Sun, our planet runs into the same debris at the same time each year. This is why these showers occur at the same time every year.

Meteor showers are named for the constellation where the meteors appear to come from. The Lyrid shower is named for the constellation Lyra, the Harp, for example. Generally, these constellations are rising in the east during the prime post-midnight viewing time for a shower. That said, don’t just look east—scan the entire sky for meteors.

To view meteor showers, just find a dark location (with as little city light as possible), get comfortable (a lawn chair is a good idea), and look up.

January 3–4, 2020

Quadrantids Meteor Shower Peak

The Moon will be out until about 1:30 a.m. and is a waxing gibbous, so its light will impact visibility.

The Quadrantids have a sharp, short peak, lasting only a few hours. The streaks of the Quadrantids appear to come from the constellation of Boötes (Boo-oh-tees) the Herdsman, in the northeast. “Quadrant Muralis,” or “Mural Quadrant,” is an old name for part of the constellation of Boötes. This is one of the now-lost constellations that were done away with when the International Astronomical Union divided the sky into 88 officially-recognized constellations in 1922.

January 4, 2020

Earth at Perihelion

This occurs at 9:47 p.m. on January 4, Hawaiʻi Standard Time. On this day, Earth is only 91.4 million miles from the Sun, compared to an average distance of 93 million miles. (At aphelion, in July, Earth will be 94.5 million miles from the Sun).

Like all planets, Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle but is elliptical, or like an oval. Earth reaches perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, in early January each year. Some people think that the change in the seasons is due to how close we are to the Sun. However, what really matters here is the tilt of the Earth. Each January, although we are closer to the Sun than at any other time of the year, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, and so we experience winter.

 

January 10, 2020

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (not visible from Hawaiʻi)

This one will not be visible in Hawaiʻi, unfortunately, because our side of Earth will be facing the Sun as the eclipse occurs. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow cast into space by light from the Sun. Lunar eclipses only occur during the full moon phase because that is when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in a line. This does not occur every full moon because the Moon’s orbit is tilted by about 5o in relation to Earth’s orbit around the Sun, so it is usually above or below the shadow cast by Earth. Occasionally things line up just right so that the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, or umbra. This causes a total lunar eclipse. The edge of the umbra is called the penumbra; sometimes during a lunar eclipse the Moon just passes through the penumbra like it does for this occurrence. A penumbral lunar eclipse looks very much like a normal full moon because it’s not passing through the darkest part of the shadow. More info here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/penumbral-lunar-eclipse.html

 

January 25, 2020

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year occurs two new moons before the first day of spring, which occurs on March 19 this year.

March 10, 2020

Supermoon and Full Moon

This supermoon is the first of two in 2020. The second is on April 7. The Moon will be a little closer to Earth than average for a Full Moon, and thus will appear a little bigger and brighter than the norm.

A Moon is officially “full” when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in a straight line, with the Earth in between the two other celestial bodies, allowing for observers on Earth to receive the maximum sunlight reflected off the Moon, illuminating its whole disk.

Supermoon background—The term “supermoon” is a recent invention and has received a fair amount of media attention in the last few years. It has come to refer to a full moon that occurs when the Moon is near its closest point to Earth in its slightly oval path around our planet. Since the Moon’s path is oval, or elliptical, it can be as close as 225,600 miles from us or as far from us as 252,000 miles. When the Moon is at the closest point to Earth in its monthly path around the Earth, it is said to be at perigee. A supermoon is just a full moon that occurs on the same day that the Moon is at perigee. Since it’s a little closer than usual, the Moon appears a little larger and a little brighter than a “normal” full moon.

The astronomer who coined the term supermoon uses the term in reference to both new moons and full moons that occur near perigee. That said, there has been very little interest in “super new moons,” since you cannot see a new moon. Incidentally, there are two super new moons in 2020: on October 16 and November 14.

 

March 8, 2020

Daylight Saving Time Starts for US Continent

Start of Daylight Saving Time for most of the continental US and Canada. As of this day, the East Coast is six hours ahead of the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast is three hours ahead of Hawai‘i. The Hawaiian Islands do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

 

March 19, 2020

March Equinox; Northern Hemisphere Spring Begins

At 5:49 p.m. HST, the Sun crosses the celestial equator (Earth’s equator projected into space) as its path across the sky (the ecliptic) appears to move farther north. On this day the Sun rises due east and sets due west and the length of day and night are approximately equal. The equal day and night is where the word equinox comes from. The Latin word aequus means equal, and nox means night.

April 7, 2020

Supermoon and Full Moon

The second of two super full moons in 2020. See the March 10 entry above for a supermoon explanation.

 

April 21–22, 2020

Lyrid Meteor Shower Peak

The Moon won’t rise until 6:08 a.m. on April 22, so observing conditions the night of April 21 will be ideal.

The Lyrids are named for the constellation Lyra, the Harp, where they appear to originate from. As with all meteor showers the best viewing times for the Lyrids will be from 12:01 a.m. to dawn (5:45 a.m.), early on April 22. They should start being visible around 10 p.m. while Lyra rises in the east. The shower is active from April 16–25, so if you miss the peak the night of the 21st you may still spot a few in the days before and after. While not one of the strongest showers, the Lyrids can produce up to twenty meteors per hour. The Lyrids are generated from the debris of Comet C/1861 G Thatcher.

May 4–5, 2020

Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower Peak

The Moon rises at 4:30 p.m. in the evening of May 4 as a nearly full moon, making for less than ideal meteor watching conditions.

Though this meteor shower’s peak is from May 4–5, it is active from April 19 to May 20 each year. The portion of Aquarius from which the meteors radiate rises above the horizon around 3:00 a.m. This is a light shower of about 20 to 40 meteors per hour. One of its claim to fame: this shower is one of two showers caused by debris from Halley’s Comet, along with the Orionids in October.

June 5, 2020

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Unfortunately, this eclipse will not be visible in Hawaiʻi because our side of Earth will be facing the Sun as the eclipse occurs. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow cast into space by light from the Sun. Lunar eclipses only occur during the full moon phase because that is when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in a line. This does not happen every full moon because the Moon’s orbit is tilted by about 5o in relation to Earth’s orbit around the Sun, so it is usually above or below the shadow cast by Earth. Occasionally things line up just right so that the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, or umbra. This causes a total lunar eclipse. The edge of the umbra is called the penumbra; sometimes during a lunar eclipse the Moon just passes through the penumbra, as it does on June 5, 2020. A penumbral lunar eclipse looks very much like a normal full moon because it’s not the darkest part of the shadow. More info here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/penumbral-lunar-eclipse.html.

 

June 20, 2020

June Solstice

Summer begins on June 20 at 11:43 a.m. HST for the Northern Hemisphere. This day has the most hours of sunlight of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and the fewest for the Southern Hemisphere. The solstice officially occurs at 11:43 a.m. HST, because that is when the Sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer (23° 30ʹ N Latitude). The Sun will rise at its point farthest north of east and will set at its farthest north of west. After this day the Sun will rise and set closer and closer to due east and west heading toward the equinox in late September.

 

June 21, 2020

Annular Solar Eclipse (not visible in Hawaiʻi)

This eclipse will not be visible in Hawaiʻi, unfortunately. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun and thus can only occur during the new moon phase. The Moon casts its shadow on Earth and if you are standing on Earth in the Moon’s shadow, the Sun is at least partially blocked by the Moon. The distance from the Moon to the Earth changes during the Moon’s monthly orbit around the Earth. If the Moon is near its closest to the Earth (perigee), the whole disk of the Sun is blocked, and a total solar eclipse occurs. This is because near perigee, the Moon and Sun appear about the same size from Earth’s perspective. Really, the Sun is MUCH larger, about 400 times the Moon’s diameter, but also about 400 times farther away, causing the illusion of being about the same size in the sky when viewed from Earth. Quite an amazing cosmic coincidence! If the Moon is at a farther distance the apparent size of the Moon is not large enough to cover the whole Sun, so a ring of the Sun is visible around the edge of the Moon. This ring is where the word annular, or ring shaped, comes from. Annulus is Latin for ring.

July 4, 2020

Earth at Aphelion and Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

At 12:10 p.m. HST the Earth will be 94.5 million miles from the Sun, the farthest point in its orbit.

Like all planets, Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle, but rather an oval. Earth reaches aphelion, its farthest point from the Sun, in early July each year. Some people think that the change in the seasons is due to how close we are to the Sun. However, what really matters is the tilt of the Earth. Each July, although we are farther from the Sun than at any other time of the year, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun, receiving more direct sunlight, and so we experience summer.

A penumbral lunar eclipse will occur on July 4, but will not be visible from Hawaiʻi. See the June 5, 2020, entry for explanation.

 

July 13, 2020

Jupiter at Opposition

The planet Jupiter is brighter than at any other time of the year and will be visible all night. When a planet is in opposition, there is a straight line between the Sun, Earth, and the other planet, with Earth being in the middle. This allows for the maximum reflection of sunlight from the planet to bounce back to us on Earth. During opposition, a planet rises at sunset, is high at midnight, and sets at dawn. During this time, a pair of binoculars will allow you to see the Galilean Moons—the four largest moons of Jupiter.

 

July 20, 2020

Saturn at Opposition

As with Jupiter in June, Saturn shines at its brightest as it hits opposition on July 20. There is a straight line between the Sun, Earth, and Saturn. The ringed planet rises at sunset, is overhead all night, and sets at dawn.

August 11–12, 2020

Perseid Meteor Shower Peak

The Moon will rise at 12:25 a.m., shortly after the constellation Perseus, for which the shower is named, rises above the horizon. While only half illuminated, it will cause reduced visibility.

This meteor shower is active from July 13 to August 26, but the most active and fruitful dates of this shower are August 11 and August 12. The Perseids are the most famous and bountiful meteor shower with up to 100 meteors per hour, often leaving long trails across the sky. The shower is generated by debris from Comet 109 P Swift Tuttle. This comet takes 130 years to orbit the Sun. It most recently passed through the Earth’s part of the solar system back in 1992, leaving lots of fresh comet debris that leads to particularly good showers.

September 22, 2020

September Equinox; Autumn begins in the Northern Hemisphere

At 3:30 a.m. the Sun crosses the celestial equator (Earth’s equator projected into space) as its path across the sky (the ecliptic) appears to move farther south. On this day the Sun rises due east and sets due west and the length of day and night are approximately equal. The equal day and night is where the word equinox comes from. The Latin word aequus means equal, and nox means night.

October 7–8, 2020

Draconid Meteor Shower Peak

In Hawaiʻi, the constellation Draco, for which the Draconid Meteor Shower is named, sets at about midnight in early October due to our low latitude. This means the meteors will be most active for us from after sunset until about midnight. While the Draconids have produced some spectacular showers in the past, it is typically not among the more impressive meteor showers. The shower is caused by debris from comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner.

 

October 20–21, 2020

Orionid Meteor Shower Peak

The Moon sets at 9:52 p.m. and the constellation Orion rises at about 10:00 p.m. Visibility should be excellent all night.

The active period for this shower is September 23–November 27, though the peak, producing about 20–25 meteors an hour, will be on October 20 and 21. Like the Eta Aquarids in May, this meteor shower is caused by debris from Halley’s Comet.

 

October 31, 2020

Blue Moon

This is the second full moon of October, so it is called a Blue Moon. It is also a micro full moon because it occurs as the Moon is at its farthest point from Earth in its monthly orbit, called apogee.

November 1, 2020

Daylight Saving Time Ends

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. for most of the continental US and Canada. As of this day, the East Coast is five hours ahead of the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast is two hours ahead.

 

November 16–17, 2020

Leonid Meteor Shower Peak

The Moon sets at 7:35 p.m. on November 16, meaning it will not interfere with meteor viewing. As with all showers, the best viewing is after midnight until dawn, but some meteors could be visible before then.

The Leonids have an intense peak every 33 years and were responsible for the greatest meteor shower over Hawaiʻi in recent times—the 2001 shower. Prior to that 2001 spectacle, the 1966 shower was one of the greatest on record. This year is not expected to produce more than 15 to 20 meteors per hour.

December 13–14, 2020

Geminid Meteor Shower Peak

Luckily this year the Moon will be in its new moon phase, meaning it rises and sets with the Sun. A moonless night should make for excellent viewing!

The Geminids are one of the best showers to view, as the meteors are very bright and intensely colored. We in Hawaiʻi are lucky as we often have good weather in December to see it well. This meteor shower is a rarity in that it is caused by debris from an asteroid (3200 Phaethon), rather than by comet debris.

 

December 14, 2020

Total Solar Eclipse (not visible in Hawaiʻi)

While not visible in Hawaiʻi, this total solar eclipse will see the Moon’s shadow move across southern Chile and Argentina. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the Sun and thus can only occur during the new moon phase. The Moon casts its shadow on Earth and if you are standing on Earth in the Moon’s shadow, the Sun is at least partially blocked by the Moon. The distance from the Moon to the Earth changes during the Moon’s monthly orbit around the Earth. If the Moon is near its closest to the Earth (perigee), the whole disk of the Sun is blocked, and a total solar eclipse occurs, like this one. This is because near perigee, the Moon and Sun appear about the same size from Earth’s perspective. Really, the Sun is MUCH larger, about 400 times the Moon’s diameter, but also about 400 times farther away causing the illusion of being about the same size in the sky when viewed from Earth. Quite an amazing cosmic coincidence! If the Moon is at a farther distance, the apparent size of the Moon is not large enough to cover the whole Sun, so a ring of the Sun is visible around the edge of the Moon. This is called an annular eclipse. The word annular comes from the Latin annulus, meaning ring.

 

December 21, 2020

December Solstice

Winter begins on December 21 at 12:02 a.m. HST for the Northern Hemisphere. This day has the least hours of sunlight of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and the most for the Southern Hemisphere. The solstice occurs officially at 12:02 a.m. HST, because that is when the Sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn (23° 30ʹ S Latitude). The Sun will rise at its point farthest south of east and will set at its furthest south of west. After this day the sun will rise and set closer and closer to due east and west heading toward the vernal equinox in late March.

 

December 21, 2020

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

On this date, Jupiter and Saturn will appear very close to one another as viewed from Earth. The actual time of conjunction is 3:34 a.m. HST. Unfortunately, at that time the two planets will not be visible in our skies. You can, however, still get a good look at them very close together in the early evening of December 20 and 21. Look west after sunset around 6:00 p.m. until the planets set at about 8:00 p.m. A decent pair of binoculars should give a nice view.

A conjunction is when two or more planets share the same right ascension, or east-west position in the sky. Right ascension is a lot like longitude on a map of Earth but projected onto the sky. Declination, which is like latitude, describing north-south position, is the other axis of the celestial sphere. Just as you can find any location on Earth using coordinates of latitude and longitude, you can find anything in the sky using right ascension and declination. The planets all orbit the Sun along roughly the same plane, so they appear more or less along the same line across the sky as viewed from Earth. This line is also the path the Sun moves [follows?] across our sky and is called the ecliptic. Jupiter and Saturn will appear very close together during their conjunction, but only from our viewpoint here on Earth. In reality, the planets are hundreds of millions of miles apart. At this time Jupiter is 473 million miles from the Sun and Saturn is 928 million miles from the Sun.

 

December 21–22, 2020

Ursid Meteor Shower

The Moon will be out and just past the first quarter phase until about 1 a.m. The Ursids are named for the constellation Ursa Minor, which is in the north part of the sky and is where the meteors appear to originate from. Typically only about 10 meteors per hour are visible from the Ursids. The source of this shower is comet 8P/Tuttle.

New Moon

First Quarter

Full Moon

Third Quarter

 

January 2

January 10

January 17

January 24

February 1

February 8

February 15

February 23

March 2

March 9

March 15

March 23

April 1

April 7

April 14

April 22

April 30

May 7

May 14

May 22

May 29

June 5

June 12

June 20

June 27

July 4

July 12

July 20

July 27

August 3

August 11

August 18

August 25

September 1

September 9

September 17

September 23

October 1

October 9

October 16

October 23

October 31

November 8

November 14

November 21

November 29

December 7

December 14

December 21

December 29

 

In the tropics (between latitudes 23o 26′ N and 23o 26′ S), the Sun passes directly overhead twice during the year. On these two days, at local noon, the Sun will be exactly overhead, and an upright object such as a flagpole will have no shadow. This phenomenon only occurs in the tropics; the Sun is never directly overhead in any other part of the planet. The northern reaches of the Hawaiian Islands, such as Midway Island, are north of the tropics and do not experience the overhead sun.

The “overhead sun” date varies depending on how far north or south you are in the tropics. Thus, for Līhu‘e on Kaua‘i, this occurs on July 11, at 12:43 p.m. Farther south, on the island of Hawai‘i, the overhead sun date occurs on July 24 (12:27 p.m. for Hilo, 12:31 p.m. for Kailua, Kona).

Here in the Islands a term we often use for zenith noon is Lāhainā noon. This is a modern term, selected by Bishop Museum in a 1990 contest held to select a name for the zenith noon phenomenon. The name Lāhainā is said to be rooted in the meaning, “cruel sun,” and while the sun in the Islands is almost never cruel, it can be pretty intense as it shines directly down from the zenith.

The chart below gives the overhead sun dates and times for several locations.

Līhuʻe, Kaua‘i

May 30, 12:35 p.m.

July 11, 12:43 p.m.

Haleʻiwa, O‘ahu

May 28, 12:30 p.m.

July 14, 12:38 p.m.

Kāne‘ohe, O‘ahu

May 27, 12:28 p.m.

July 15, 12:38 p.m.

Honolulu, O‘ahu

May 26, 12:29 p.m.

July 15, 12:38 p.m.

Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i

May 25, 12:25 p.m.

July 17, 12:34 p.m.

Lāna‘i City, Lāna‘i

May 23, 12:25 p.m.

July 18, 12:34 p.m.

Lahaina, Maui

May 24, 12:24 p.m.

July 18, 12:33 p.m.

Kahului, Maui

May 24, 12:23 p.m.

July 18, 12:32 p.m.

Hāna, Maui

May 23, 12:21 p.m.

July 18, 12:30 p.m.

Hilo, Hawai‘i Island

May 18, 12:17 p.m.

July 24, 12:27 p.m.

Kailua, Kona, Hawai‘i Island

May 17, 12:20 p.m.

July 24, 12:31 p.m.

South Point, Hawai‘i Island

May 14, 12:19 p.m.

July 27, 12:29 p.m.

About the Planetarium

Bishop Museum’s Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium was the first planetarium in Polynesia. Originally called the Kilolani Planetarium, the Watumull Planetarium has served over six million visitors and students since it opened its doors on December 11, 1961. Our Chronos II star machine provides one of the most vivid, realistic recreations of the night sky available today, with 8,500 pinpoint stars and realistic, bright planets. Our Digistar full dome video system covers the entire dome in immersive video, allowing us to fly through the rings of Saturn or into the depths of the Orion nebula.

The planetarium has 70 seats and serves 70,000 people a year. The planetarium focuses on programs about Hawai‘i; a hallmark of its programs is the blending of live and prerecorded elements within each program.