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September skies offer views of Saturn, Mars

The four star families are modern Hawaiian inventions that have been used consistently by the voyaging community for 25 years. Read more

Jupiter, Venus to shine brightly in June sky

As spring turns to summer, the months of May and June have provided Polynesian mariners the best season for making a Tahiti-to-Hawaii Pacific passage. Read more

Skywatch: Spring brings new starline

On March 20 the sun crossed north over the equator in an event called the equinox, a juncture when daylight and nighttime are about equal in length, heralding the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The Hawaiian word associated with this season is Kupulau (Sprouting Leaf). Read more

Using the stars to make landfall

This month we focus on the third and final skill set essential for celestial navigation. After orienting the canoe and determining the canoe’s position at sea, the final challenge becomes making landfall. Read more

Navigating by stars and nature’s clues

To navigate the seas using only the stars and other clues from nature, one needs to learn three essential functions: orienting the canoe, determining the canoe’s position at sea and making landfall. Read more

Hawaiian navigation, space exploration led the way in 2017

From the completion of the epic voyage of the Hokule‘a to the naming of an asteroid detected from Hawaii, and the latest findings of gravitational waves in space, 2017 has been an exciting year for astronomical explorations on Earth and in space. Read more

Using the star compass in oceanic wayfinding

The beauty of the Star Compass is its natural symmetry and reflective quality, allowing the navigator to use nature’s clues to determine direction. Read more

Sun and stars’ daily trek form Hawaiian compass

The recent completion of the three-year Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage by the voyaging canoe Hokule‘a underscores the timeless relevance of this indigenous system of celestial navigation. Read more

Eager star-gazers abound in islands

Aloha everybody! This will be my final Skywatch article. I am delighted, and a little wistful, to announce that I have accepted a position at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J., across from lower Manhattan. Read more

‘Cruel sun’ at noon comes back in July

While we lose the Southern Cross from the Hawaiian Islands by the time July starts, the month does provide a last chance to catch the brilliant stars Alpha and Beta Centauri, the best summertime stars we see in Hawaii and which are not visible from most of the United States. Read more

Lahaina Noon will strike isles next month

In the tropics, the sun passes overhead twice during the year. On these two days, the sun will be exactly overhead at midday and an upright object such as a flagpole will have no shadow. Read more

Constellations, planets, Lyrids show off in April

April is always a good time to spot most of the famous constellations in one night in the islands. April has the added bonus of being able to catch all five of the naked-eye planets for at least part of the month. Read more

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