This Resort Has Built an Observatory to Tour Hawaii's Ancestral Night Skies
Posted on 03/24/2022 | About Hawaii
Ancient Hawaiian culture meets the astro-tourism trend in this new experience in Lana’i. If you are one of the many people who’ve found a new fascination with the night skies, the new observatory debuting in the Four Seasons Resort Lanai will be keeping you ‘up at nights’ thinking about this trip.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai has debuted the Lāna'i Observatory, offering a new astrotourism experience for Resort guests, Lāna'i residents and students.
The observatory’s telescope stands 135' high and weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. It is housed in a two-story domed structure that spans approximately 25 feet in diameter.
The Kilo Hōkū (“observing the stars”) Experience is a new cultural program at the resort. It’s a one-hour enrichment activity where local Love Lāna'I cultural advisors share ancestral knowledge of the celestial sphere as well as guide guests on a tour of the night sky.
Lāna'i is an ideal location to observe the stars, with low levels of atmospheric and light pollution to facilitate stargazing. Guests may see Hōkū /stars, and constellations including:
Hānaiakamalama Southern Cross
Nāhiku Big Dipper
Nākao Orions' belt and sword
The Hawaiian ancient knowledge of the skies is legendary, and the Kilo Hōkū Experience begins by sharing how indigenous Hawaiians and people of the Pacific used the celestial bodies and elements of the natural environment to guide their way on the ocean.
It is thought that voyages between Hawaiʻi and the South Pacific occurred as early as 400 A.D. A keenly developed ability to read the night sky helped early Polynesians find their way from island to island across the Pacific, and ultimately to Hawai'i. Their knowledge of the fixed celestial sphere was critical to guide their voyaging canoes over thousands of miles of open ocean. The expansive Pacific Ocean served as a superhighway, binding cultures together.
Following the presentation, guests are guided through a viewing experience through the telescope. Guests can look deep into the night sky at various celestial bodies such as planets, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, and the spectacular moon.
Participants learn star stories from Hawaiian culture, “the history of ancient wayfinding as well as methods of traditional, non-instrument navigation that Native Hawaiians and people of the Pacific utilize today in attempts to retrace the voyages of our past so we can reclaim ancestral knowledge,' shared Four Seasons Resorts Lāna'i General Manager Alastair McAlpine.
'We look forward to sharing this unique experience to explore the stars, but also discover another aspect of Hawaiian culture.'
Future plans seek to include programming such as special guest speakers and presentations with 'Imiloa, the Astronomy Centre of Hawaii as well as educational programs tailored to Lāna'i students.
It may be the best way to spend an evening at the award-winning, low-rise Four Seasons Resort Lāna'i along the Pacific coastline. The Resort offers outdoor restaurants including NOBU LĀNA'I, spa, championship golf and tennis, a kids club, beach and pool with spacious seating areas nestled among tropical gardens, complimentary wellness classes, cultural workshops and luxury retail boutiques.
Start Your Star Gazing Trip!
Image courtesy Four Seasons Resort Lāna'i