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Kathy Hopen, CCDF Director 

Polynesian Voyaging Cylinder North

Polynesian Voyaging Cylinder North

Polynesian Voyaging Cylinder North

This cylinder displays the four star groups that are used for navigation in Hawaiian astronomy. These “star lines” run north to south and are marked by bright stars and prominent constellations. Star line 1, which translated means “The Canoe-Bailer of Makali’i” is formed by six stars, Capella, Castor and Pollux, Procyon, Sirius, and Canopus, curving across the sky from north to south in the shape of a bailer with Orion in the middle. Star line 2, “The Backbone”, runs from Polaris and The Big Dipper near the north celestial pole through Arcturus to the Southern Cross near the south celestial pole. The stars in this line represent vertebrae along a backbone, a metaphor for a genealogical line with each vertebra representing a generation. Star line 3, “The Chief’s Fishline”, goes from Cassiopeia in the north to Scorpius in the south, and is dominated by the Navigator’s Triangle, made up of Deneb, Vega, and Altair. Finally, the northern part of star line 4 or “The Kite of Kawelo” is made up of Cassiopeia and the Great Square of Pegasus, while the southern part includes Fomalhaut, Alnair, Dipha, Ankaa, and Achernar. The cylinder includes a 20-page curriculum with an introduction to Hawaiian Astronomy, a section on Polynesian Voyaging and Wayfinding, and complete descriptions (including traditional Hawaiian names) of the Hawaiian constellations and star lines.



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