With the 2014 astronomy calendar for Hawaii you will always be up to date on the most exciting astronomical events in the Hawaiian skies in 2014. As the events draw close we will update the viewing information. For now you should reserve the following dates in your calendar for stargazing:
- January 3: Quadrantids Meteor Shower
- April 14: Total Lunar Eclipse
- April 22: Lyrids Meteor Shower
- May 5: Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower
- June 20: Summer solstice
- August 12: Perseids Meteor Shower
- October 8: Total Lunar Eclipse
- October 21: Orionids Meteor Shower
- November 17: Leonids Meteor Shower
- December 14: Geminids Meteor Shower
- December 21: Winter solstice
January 3rd: Quadrantids Meteor Shower
The Quadrantids are, together with the Geminids, one of the two best meteor showers to watch from Hawaii in 2014. The new moon at January 1st creates ideal (dark) viewing conditions for this meteor shower. Shooting stars from this shower are visible between December 28th and January 12th, but the best show will take place on January 3rd at 09:30 Hawaiian time.
We recommend to watch the Quadrantids after midnight on the night between January 2nd and 3rd or, if you are really eager to get very close to the peak of this meteor shower, to get up very early in January 3rd. The sun rises that day just before 07:00 AM, so we recommend to start your stargazing at 05:00 am.
This year Hawaii is the host of two(!) total lunar eclipses: One at April 14th and one at October 8th. This total lunar eclipse starts just before 7 pm local time on April 14th, and ends half an hour after midnight on April 15th. The moon will be totally eclipsed between 21:08 and 22:23 on April 14th.
Click through for more information and a sky chart of this lunar eclipse.
If you want to learn more about how a lunar eclipse works, why the moon becomes during an eclipse (hint: for the same reasons sunsets turn red), and more lunar eclipse trivia, visit our lunar eclipse 101.
April 22-23: Lyrids Meteor Shower
The Lyrids are one of the minor meteor showers of the year, and even under the best circumstances you should not expect to see more than ± 20 meteors / hour. Because the moon is fairly bright, your best chance to see Lyrids from Hawaii is around midnight (but before the moonrise at 01:20) of the night between April 22 and 23. Look towards the north-east for the constellation of Lyra.
May 5: Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower
This year, the Eta Aquariids are an o.k. meteor shower to watch, but in Hawaii only the ‘aftermath’ will be visible. This meteor shower reaches peak activity atound 21:00 PM Hawaiian time on May 5th, a couple of hours before it rises above the Hawaiian horizon at 01:00 AM on May 6th. The best time to watch this meteor shower is on May 6th between 01:00 and ±05:00 (twilight). The closer you are to dawn the better.
June 20th: Summer Solstice and Midsummer Night
Make your midsummer (short) night a special one and make the best out of this longest day. What better excuse is there for a celebration? Many cultures have festivities linked to the summer solstice, so what about organizing your own midsummer night party or pau hana’s?
The summer solstice in 2014 takes place in Hawaii at 06:57 AM local time on June 20th.
August 11-13: Perseids Meteor Shower
The Perseids are one of the most popular and active meteor showers of the year. At its peak (between August 11 and 13) and under perfect viewing conditions, you can expect to see between 60 and 100 shooting stars / hour.
Unfortunately for Hawaiian stargazers, perfect viewing conditions are unattainable this year, and the same good for ‘good’ and ‘average’ viewing conditions. The almost full moon (full moon is t August 10th) is visible the whole night, and the bright moonlight will outshine all but the brightest shooting stars.
October 7/8: Total lunar Eclipse
The second total lunar eclipse visible from Hawaii in 2014 starts at 22:17 PM on October 7th and ends at 03:32 AM. The total eclipse is visible just after midnight between 00:27 and 01:22 on the 8th of October.
Watching this eclipse is possibly the best reason of 2014 to go stargazing
To learn why the moon becomes during an eclipse (hint: for the same reasons sunsets turn red) and find out more about lunar eclipses, visit our lunar eclipse 101.
October 21: Orionids Meteor Shower
2014 is a good year to look for shooting stars from the Orionids meteor shower. A nearly new moon make sure the night is dark during this showers peak.
The Orionids are not a very active meteor shower, with peak rates of about 25 shooting stars / hour during the peak on October 21st. The best time to look for Orionids is between midnight and dawn / moonrise on October 20th (moonrise at 03:49 AM) and 21st (moonrise at 04:39 AM) 2014.
November 17: Leonids Meteor Shower
Because the bright moon washes out many of the most active meteor showers of 2014, stargazers have to place their bets on the more minor showers to get their fill of shooting stars.
The Leonids are one of these minor showers with an estimated peak rate of ±15 meteors / hour. However, this shower is called ‘fascinatingly variable’, so 2014 stargazers might get lucky. This years peak occurs on November 17th at noon in Hawaii, so Hawaiian stargazers should resort to the night before and/or after.
The best time to watch from Hawaii on November 17th is between midnight and 02:30 AM (moonrise), and on November 18th between midnight and 03:20 AM.
December 14: Geminids Meteor Shower
The Geminids are, together with the Quadrantids, one of you best stargazing chances of 2014. Traditionally stargazers can find up to 120 shooting stars / hour during peak activity (between 00:00 AM of December 14 and 15).
Unfortunately the moon rises just after midnight on December 14th and is fairly bright. The best viewing on the 14th thus is before midnight.
However, things get better the following days. Every following day the moon rises ±50 minutes later, and the moon decreases quickly in brightness until the new moon on December 21st. The Geminids are active between December 4 and 17, so the early mornings of December 15 (between midnight and 01:11), 16 (between midnight and 02:01) and 17 (between midnight and 02:53) will give stargazers also a fair amount of shooting stars
December 21: Winter solstice
The winter solstice (shortest day, longest night) will take place on December 21st. The exact time of the solstice at Hawaii is 11:03 AM on December 21st.