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Four Seasons Lanai Introduces Astrotourism Experiences

Resort debuts the Lanai Observatory to offer Astronomy Experiences

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

The Kilo Hoku Experience is a new cultural program from Love Lanai, which involves cultural advisors sharing ike kupuna (ancestral knowledge) of the celestial sphere as well as 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 meticulously 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.

“Our Love Lanai team dedicated many hours of learning not only about the operations of the telescope and the skies, but even more importantly about 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,” says general manager Alastair McAlpine. “We look forward to sharing this unique experience to explore the stars and discover another aspect of 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 their way on the ocean. 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, the fixed celestial sphere, was critical. The wayfinders utilized their knowledge of ka lani paa 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 that utilizes the 40-inch 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 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 (3.4 meters) high and weighs approximately 3,000 pounds (1,360 kilograms).

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 Lanai students.

Rates are $35 per adult, $17.50 for children 4 to 12, and minors must be accompanied by an adult. Each session lasts one hour, including a safety briefing and information about lenses. Timing will change throughout the year due to the sunset and visibility of natural rotation of the sky. Guests can visit the resort’s online activity calendar to see the schedule.

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.