Dec. 13 marked the start of the Makahiki season and the Hawaiian new year.
The Hawaiian new year is determined by the first visible sliver of a moon after the new moon after the rising of the star cluster Pleiades at sunset, according to Bishop Museum’s J. Watumull Planetarium:
To mark the start of the Makahiki season: 1) wait for the star cluster of the Pleiades to rise at sunset, which occurs every year on November 17; 2) wait for the new moon that follows this sunset rising of the Pleiades, which occurs in 2015 on December 11; 3) wait for the first visible crescent moon that follows this new moon. This year, this slender crescent should be visible in the west at dusk on December 13, thus marking the start of the Makahiki season and of the Hawaiian year.
The night of Dec. 13-14 was also the second of two peak nights for the Geminid meteor shower, considered to be one of the best astronomical shows.
According to Bishop Musem, “This meteor shower is a rarity in that it is caused by debris from an asteroid (3200 Phaethon) rather than by comet debris. Conditions are promising this year since there will be no moon to interfere.”
Viewer Jerre Stead caught a few meteors over Makapuu Lighthouse and shared this photo with KHON2. “The sky put on a beautiful show!” Stead wrote.
The shower will be active through Dec. 19. You’ll want to keep an eye out from 12:01 a.m. to dawn.
Related Link: Five fun facts for the 2015 Geminid meteor shower (NASA)