2007/06/01

Hokule'a Under Japan's Night Sky

The Polynesian Voyaging Society Canoe Hokule'a is in Uwajima and will leave tomorrow for its last leg in Japan, sailing to Yokohama near Tokyo.



Last night, the voyaging canoe was turned into an astronomy classroom. From the crewblog:

"Last night six high school students and their teacher slept on board Hokule'a. Under a full moon and a clear night sky, crew member Taku Araki gave them a lesson in basic navigation and Nainoa Thompson, assisted by Japanese speaking crew member Kyoko Ikeda, followed with a more in-depth lesson. The students and teacher stayed up for most of the night watching the stars move across the sky. In the morning, the teacher told Taku, Kyoko, and the students that he had taught astronomy for years but the stars were never more real to him than last night. He told the students, "Let's learn together." Taku and Kyoko said the students were in shock because in Japan teachers are usually placed high above the students as authorities and dispensers of knowledge, so for this teacher to place himself as a learner with the students was astonishing."



To read about the entire voyage or just keep up to date with the latest information and photos, go here: HOKULEA'S VOYAGE TO JAPAN and here: CREW WEBLOG.

12 comments:

ladybug said...

That's the best way to learn to read the stars. I still remember when my husband took us up to spend the night near Mt. Hood and just laid out sleeping bags in a meadow (no tent!).

I was a little scared of bugs, critters and hunters (it was late fall/early autumn) but it was great. I think the hunters were actually pissed because we parked ourselves right in a meadow where the deer eat (we saw them a couple of times during the night).

Oh well, a couple morons tried to use the headlight/big truck/huge tire method of hunting deer, but it didn't work - the road still defeated them and they weren't drunk enough to shoot into a meadow w/3 people (we had our daughter w/us) in the full starshine/moonlight.

QUASAR9 said...

I bet they get some impressive views at night in clear skies

Hill said...

That is a lesson the students will never forget. And the teacher sounds cool. Never too old to learn.
Beats sitting in a classroom and staring at a computer monitor.
;-)

Pandabonium said...

Well, here's a revoltin' development:

I can't post to my blog until someone at Google reviews it! Seems their computer suspects Pacific Islander of being a "spam blog"! Obviously it's not, but I wonder how long it will take them to look at it and unlock it. For now I can write posts, but only save them as drafts.

I wonder what I am doing that would cause them to flag me? I don't even carry ads. Anyone else ever have this happen?

The Moody Minstrel said...

Click to enlarge WHAT????

I'm afraid the view of the night sky on the Japanese coast is not all that impressive. Even if you somehow manage to distance yourself from the smog-belching cities, the high humidity this time of year means the sky tends to be hazy.

It is possible to see some good starry skies from the Japan Alps, though.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I can't post to my blog until someone at Google reviews it! Seems their computer suspects Pacific Islander of being a "spam blog"!

Could this maybe have something to do with your expressing opinions which are less than supportive of corporate America and the administration that rules it? ;-)

To tell you the truth, though, I've noticed in the past that your blog installs a cookie. I don't know why, but it might be your hit stat counter. Some of them install tracking cookies without your knowledge.

Pandabonium said...

Moody - click to enlarge the map - it will open in another window almost full screen. To enlarge anything else you're on your own. :P

I see some pretty awesome night skies right here, just 2 miles from the ocean. Milky way and all. But you're right that this time of year it is usually too hazy.

Tonight the nearly full moon is beautiful as well as Jupiter. Hokule'a obviously did have a good night for viewing. Just lucky.

Any blog with a counter does a cookie - even yours (neoworx). I think it may have to do with links within my posts, not sure.

From what I've read by other people who have gotten blocked, they usually take a day or two to unblock it.

Sure is a pisser.

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - I've never camped out in the open like that. Sounds wonderful except for the hunters.

Quasar9 - especially out on the open ocean in clear weather. I can imagine it is spectacular. On Taveuni island in Fiji, where there is no electrical grid and few artificial lights, the night sky is really beautiful. Sad that people in cities have lost that.

Hill- yep. nothing like looking at the real thing. Even opens the eyes of the instructor.

ladybug said...

I forgot to say that my husband's insistance to "sleep out in the open" really did make a difference in being able to identify star signs.

Sometimes people would point out consetellations, but I really didn't know which particular stars they were talking about.

We brought a little star book with us and watched off and on, while dozing off whenever, as the stars wheeled around us.

It was also the first time I really understood we were on a moving planet. Except for mosquitos (there weren't any last time, I think it was cold/high enough that they'd died off by then), I'd do it again.

My husband did ALOT of camping out in the open w/the Boy Scouts for many years (working up to his Eagle Badge, and later as staff at several summer camps); I asked him, "What do we do if it rains?", (a not uncommon occurence in Oregon west of the Cascades), he said "You get wet".

I figured if he could handle it, so coud I!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Ladybug...he didn't always handle it very well. Trust me. ;-)

Lrong said...

Hmmm... star watching... don't know much about the stars but sometimes the skies over here do seem very very pretty indeed...

Pandabonium said...

Lrong - yes indeed. Sometimes I go outside at night on some erand and am surprised by a beautiful starry sky and think how foolish I am for not making time for stargazing. Laying on a lounge chair with a pair of binoculars is an lovely way to spend an evening. Unless it's raining ;)