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International Observe the Moon Night

by Brea Aamoth on September 7th, 2015

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will host two special events to help the community prepare for International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, September 19, 2015.
International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration. Scientists and lunar enthusiasts join forces each year to host or attend InOMN events, encouraging audiences all over the world to look at and learn about the Moon together.

At noon on Saturday, September 19, ‘Imiloa will devote its live daily planetarium show, Skies Above Hawai’i, to a focus on the Moon. The presentation will discuss why and how the Moon’s appearance changes over the course of each month, and how these lunar phases have played a significant role in Hawaiian agriculture and fishing practices.

At 1:00 pm, Rob Kelso, Executive Director, PISCES (Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems), will offer a presentation in Earl & Doris Bakken Moanahōkū Hall on “Apollo Lunar Sites and Hawaiian Petroglyphs – What do they have in common and how do we preserve/protect historic landing sites on the Moon?” Kelso, a former NASA space shuttle flight director, will examine the growing concern over how to preserve historic sites on the Moon, including man’s first footsteps made during Apollo 11 in July 1969.

The Apollo program and its missions to the Moon served as pivotal events in both the Cold War and in human exploration and technology, marking mankind’s first-ever visit to another celestial body. For the intervening four decades, the material culture that NASA astronauts left behind has remained undisturbed, but China, Japan, Russia, India, and the European Space Agency, plus private organizations like Google and the X Prize Foundation, have all announced plans to visit the Moon and conduct robotic surface exploration during the coming decade. How should we preserve this cultural landscape of such significant historical value?

Kelso, who has experience managing a team of national experts to address this question, will reference Hawaiʻi’s experience with petroglyph preservation and present an overview of the issues and recommended solutions for protecting and preserving the priceless sites on the Moon.

Both the noon and the 1:00 pm presentations will be included in ‘Imiloa’s daily admission. As always, admission is free for ‘Imiloa members.

At 6:30 pm, to celebrate International Observe the Moon Night, members of the UH Hilo Astrophysics Club will set up telescopes and host a live Moon viewing opportunity on the UH Hilo campus (weather permitting). The program will include a “Moon Selfie” picture taking station, as well as a series of 20-minute presentations on different aspects of the Moon. The public is invited to attend free of charge. For more information, contact Wilfred Gee, University Astrophysics Club President, at (801) 609-8433.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i is a world-class informal science education center located on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus. ‘Imiloa is a place of life-long learning where the power of Hawai‘i’s cultural traditions, its legacy of exploration and the wonders of astronomy come together to provide inspiration and hope for generations. The Center’s interactive exhibits, 3D full dome planetarium, native landscape, and programs and events engage children, families, visitors and the local community in the wonders of science and technology found in Hawai‘i. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays). For more information, visit the website at


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