Four Seasons Resort Lanai Debuts Astrotourism Experience

Four Seasons Resort Lanai has announced the debut of the Lanai Observatory, offering a new astrotourism experience for guests, residents and students alike.

The “Kilo Hoku Experience” is a new cultural program from Love Lanai. Cultural advisors share ike kupuna (ancestral knowledge) of the celestial sphere, besides guiding guests on a tour of the night sky. In the Hawaiian language, kilo may be interpreted as “an observer,” or “to observe,” and hoku may be interpreted as “star.” Lanai is an ideal location to observe the stars, with low levels of atmospheric and light pollution to facilitate stargazing.

Love Lanai Cultural Practitioner Anela Evans spent many hours researching primary Olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language) resources, such as newspapers and scholarly writings from the 1800s, to develop program scripts and uncover star stories shared within the Hawaiian culture.

The "Kilo Hoku Experience" begins by sharing how indigenous Hawaiians and people of the Pacific utilized the celestial bodies and elements of the natural environment to guide them on their voyages. It is thought that voyages between Hawaii and the South Pacific occurred as early as 400 AD. 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 Hawaii. Their knowledge of ka lani paa, or the fixed celestial sphere, was critical. The wayfinder utilized their knowledge of ka lani paa to guide their canoes over thousands of miles of ocean. The Pacific Ocean served as a superhighway, binding cultures together.

Following the presentation, guests are guided through a viewing experience that utilizes the 40-inch telescope. Guests can gaze at various celestial bodies including planets, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae and the moon. The telescope is housed in a two-story domed structure that spans approximately 25 feet in diameter. Made by PlaneWave Instruments, the PW1000 is an observatory-class telescope featuring a direct drive altitude-azimuth (Alt-Az) mounting system, stands 135 inches high and weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.

Future plans seek to include programming such as special guest speakers and presentations with Imiloa, the Astronomy Centre of Hawaii, besides educational programs for Lanai students.

Tickets are priced at $35 per person, and $17.50 for children between 4-12 years. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Each session lasts an hour, and includes a safety briefing and information about lenses. Timing will change throughout the year owing to the sunset and visibility of natural rotation of the sky. Guests can visit the resort’s online activity calendar to check the schedule.

Love Lanai offers a range of activities, many of which are complimentary for guests. They can explore storied sites, share history and explore the island’s heritage with the resort’s Love Lanai Cultural Advisors.

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