With our partners Stargazers of Hawaii, ‘Ohana Kilo Hōkū, and the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy, we invited everyone to take a closer look at the stars and planets above us on Saturday, October 1, for ‘Ohana Stargazing in the month of ‘Ikuwā on a Kūpau moon night.
The event opened with an ‘oli to welcome everyone who was eager to take a peek in the telescopes. While the sun set, we heard from Sam King of ‘Ohana Kilo Hōkū about how ‘Ohana Stargazing started and from Nick Bradley of Stargazers of Hawaii about the moon and planets we’d be able to see.
It turned into a clear night perfect for stargazing with a bright Kūpau moon. In the Hawaiian lunar calendar, the third through sixth moon phases correspond with the first four nights of Kū. The end of the first moon, Kūkahi, ends the kapu (forbidden) period of Kū and marks a period when taro is planted. Kū means ‘erect,’ referring to the intention for plants to grow strong and erect. This series of four days also indicates good fishing.
On this opportune night, we got to admire Jupiter, Saturn, the moon, and the stars through several telescopes set up and operated by volunteers. People got comfortable on their own blankets and chairs to look up at the sky and listen to our speakers.
Ka‘iulani Murphy, a Hōkūleʻa navigator, shared her mana‘o (knowledge) about wayfinding with the Hawaiian Star Lines, directing our eyes to certain stars with a laser pointer, giving their Hawaiian names, and explaining the stories behind the constellations. She also brought a star compass to provide more background.
Leinani Lozi with ‘Ohana Kilo Hōkū captivated the waiting audience with mo‘olelo (stories) of Maui and his fish hook and Hina, the Goddess of the Moon.
And for those who couldn’t join us, we held the Star Stream live on the UH Institute for Astronomy’s YouTube, so folks at home could see what was going on at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako and follow along with our astronomer Roy Gal as he showed the view in the connected telescope. The recording is available online if you’d like to see the moon, planets, nebulae, and more cosmic phenomena.
The activities and crafts set up in The Barn were great hits among the ‘ohana who joined us, with keiki exploring a variety of learning opportunities with our partner organizations. Kilo Hōkū VR brought us out to sea in virtual reality goggles and showed us what it’s like to navigate by the stars while sailing on the Hōkūleʻa. A scaled model of the solar system showed us the vastness of space in a way we could walk through and understand. Keiki dug through the LEGO® bricks provided by the Hawaii LEGO® Users Group to engineer their own space-worthy creations to rival the models the group had on display. The hands-on interactivity really made everyone’s faces light up, no matter their age.
We loved seeing how the kids got creative decorating their KeikiDesks, which were donated by Kamehameha Schools. The once white desks were soon covered in stars, rockets, flowers, people, and all kinds of colorful drawings as the kids sat down with crayons, markers, and glow-in-the-dark stickers. We hope the desks will get lots of use at home!
Mahalo nui to our partners Stargazers of Hawaii, ‘Ohana Kilo Hōkū, University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy, Hawaiian Astronomical Society, Maunakea Observatories, Hawaii LEGO® Users Group, Kilo Hōkū VR, and Ka‘iulani Murphy for coming together to make this event astronomically successful! A big mahalo to our sponsor the Kaiāulu ‘o Kaka‘ako Owners Association as well!
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