Four Seasons Resort Lanai introduces astrotourism with the launch of the Lanai Observatory

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai announces the launch of the Lāna’i Observatory, providing a new astrotourism experience for resort guests, Lāna’i residents and students.

the Kilo Hōkū Experience is a new cultural program of I love Lana’i, and cultural advisors share ʻike kūpuna (ancestral knowledge) of the celestial sphere and guide guests on a tour of the night sky. In the Hawaiian language, kilo can be interpreted as “a watcher” or “to observe” and hōkū can be interpreted as “star”. Lāna’i is an ideal location for stargazing, with low levels of air and light pollution to aid stargazing.

Love Lāna’i Cultural Practitioner ʻĀnela Evans has spent many hours meticulously researching primary ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) resources, such as diaries and scholarly writings from the 1800s to develop program scripts and uncover shared star stories within Hawaiian culture.

“Our Love Lāna’i team has spent many hours learning not only about the workings of the telescope and the sky, but most importantly the history of ancient wayfinding as well as the traditional instrumentless methods of navigation that Native Hawaiians and the peoples of the Pacific use today to attempt to trace the voyages of our past so that we can recover ancestral knowledge,” said Four Seasons Resorts General Manager Lāna’i. Alastair McAlpine. He continued, “We can’t wait to share this unique experience to explore the stars, but also discover another side of Hawaiian culture.”

The Kilo Hōkū Experience begins by sharing how Native Hawaiians and Pacific peoples used celestial bodies and elements of the natural environment to guide themselves on the ocean. Voyages between Hawaiʻi and the South Pacific are thought to have taken place as early as 400 AD A highly developed ability to read the night sky helped early Polynesians find their way from island to island across the Pacific, and eventually to Hawai’i. Their knowledge of ka lani pa’a, the fixed celestial sphere was essential. The guide used his knowledge of ka lani paʻa – the celestial sphere – to guide his voyage canoes over thousands of miles of open ocean. The vast Pacific Ocean has served as a highway, linking cultures.

After the presentation, guests are taken through a visual experience using the 1 meter telescope. Guests can look deep into the night sky at various celestial bodies such as planets, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae and the spectacular moon.

The telescope is housed in a two-story domed structure that spans about 25 feet in diameter. Manufactured by PlaneWave Instruments, the PW1000 is an observatory-class telescope featuring a direct-drive altitude-azimuth (Alt-Az) mounting system, stands 135 inches tall, and weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.

Future plans seek to include programs such as special guest speakers and presentations with ‘Imiloa, the astronomy center of Hawaii as well as educational programs tailored to Lāna’i students.

The rates are $35 per person, $17.50 children from 4 to 12 years old and minors must be accompanied by an adult. Each session lasts one hour and includes a safety briefing and lens information. The schedule will change throughout the year due to sunset and the visibility of the sky’s natural rotation. Guests can visit the resort’s online activities calendar to view the schedule.

Love Lana’i offers a number of activities, many of which are free for guests, to explore historic sites, share history and immerse themselves in the island’s rich heritage with the resort’s Love Lanai Cultural Advisors.

The award-winning Four Seasons Resort Lāna’i has 213 rooms in a series of low-rise buildings spread along the Pacific coast, offering a private residential experience. The resort offers al fresco dining including NOBU LĀNA’I, a spa, golf and tennis championships, a kids’ club, beach and swimming pool with spacious seating areas nestled amongst tropical gardens, wellness centers, cultural workshops and luxury boutiques.

Glossary of some Hawaiian star names
Hōkū Star
‘A’ā Sirius
Hanaiakamalama Southern Cross
Hōkūpa’a Polaris
‘Iwakeli’i Cassiopeia
Kaheiheionakeiki Orion
Kauluakoko Betelgeuse
Makali’i Pleiades
Nahiku Big bear
Nakao Belt and Sword of Orions

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