Island of Hawaii Week: Stargazing at Fairmont Orchid


KHON2’s Wake Up 2day and Living808 present a special series from the Island of Hawaii. Trini Kaopuiki went exploring and found the joys of a staycation on Hawaii’s largest island.

It’s always good to stop and smell the roses. But if you’re on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island, it’s even better to search the sky.

Fairmont Orchid offers the perfect opportunity to do just that. Every Friday night, the hotel hosts a stargazing session by Star Gaze Hawaii. The one-hour guided tour of the sky is open to both resort guests and kamaaina.

Participants can use high-powered instruments to view cloud bands on Jupiter, rings around Saturn, and clusters of hundreds, even millions of stars. Star Gaze Hawaii also offers a unique night-vision system that allows you to see galaxies millions of light years away.

“We get a very sharp scene here on the Kohala Coast, four to six times sharper than any other place on the planet,” said astronomer Wayne Fukunaga

Fukunaga says stargazing is actually more effective at sea level than on Mauna Kea, because at sea level “we have 100-percent oxygen. Your eyes just work better. You run into hypoxia at high altitude and you see less, actually.”

The tour also touches upon star lore, or the history and mythology of the sky.

Stargazing sessions take place every Friday, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Fairmont Orchid, 1 North Kaniku Drive, on the pool side of the croquet lawn. Reservations cost $40 for adults and $20 for children.

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