May 12, 2016
Spring is in full effect here in Hawaii! The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the beaches are full of locals and tourists soaking up their daily dose of Vitamin D. What to do after the sun sets? Well, it just so happens that Hawaii is home to some of the most incredible stargazing opportunities on the planet! This time of the year, we get a special treat in the form of the Southern Cross constellation. Generally, the Southern Cross is easily seen from the Southern Hemisphere. For those lucky enough to be in Hawaii this time of the year, we can actually see this prominent constellation as it is located in a bright portion of the Milky Way.
Even though it is the smallest constellation in the night sky, it is also the most distinct. Dating back 10-20 million years ago, the Southern Cross is made up of 5 stars. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon Crucis. The stars form an asterism that really looks more like a kite, as opposed to a cross. While facing south, Acrux (Alpha Crucis) is the brightest star of the constellation, marking the bottom of the Southern Cross, which points to the South Pole. It’s always so much fun pointing it out to our guests when the sky allows for the stargazing portion of our Deluxe Volcano Experience.
At 21 degrees North Latitude, you can see both the Northern Hemisphere and most of the Southern Hemisphere. Hawaii the only state in the US where you can see both the North Star and the Southern Cross. Of all the stars that are visible from the planet Earth, from Hawaii, you can see over 80% of them! Our guides love showing this off during the Spring and early Summer. Come check it out on our Deluxe Volcano Experience!
For centuries, we’ve looked to the sky both day and night. Looking for answers…only to ask more questions. I can only be in awe of our ancestors who recognized these patterns and were able to use them to their advantage. Helping them to understand the seasons and navigating our oceans, not by looking around them, but instead looking up to the heavens for guidance.
Halemaumau Glow at Kilauea Volcano