Closing the Triangle


The Challenge


Rapa Nui Settlement

Rapa Nui Prehistory

Wind, Weather, Ocean Currents of the Pacific

Sailing Strategies

Geography, History, & Culture in the Eastern Pacific

Educational Curriculum for
Rapa Nui

Letter to Educators

History & Heritage

Virtual Voyage

I - Getting to know your Vessel
II - Sail Planning
III - Becoming a crewmember
IV - Provisioning the Vessel
V - Preparing for the Voyage

Research & Action Projects

I - Why We Explore
II - Meterology of the Pacific
III - Naked-eye Astronomy
IV - Sealife
V - Geography, History, Culture

How to Track Hokulea

Vision & Exploration

Exploring the Night Sky

Star Charts for Hawaii

Our Sacred Earth

Malama Hawaii Projects

Northwestern Islands






III. Naked-Eye Astronomy and Non-Instrument Navigation

Students research how it is possible to navigate without modern instruments using celestial bodies and other clues of nature that can help a person tell direction and latitude at sea or find land. This knowledge will help the student understand and appreciate what a great challenge it is to find a small island such as Rapa Nui (a triangle 10 x 11 x 13 miles) in the open ocean and what a great accomplishment it was for Polynesians to dis cover and settle the island over 1500 years ago. Knowledge about astronomy will also help the student understand the navigator's reports on guiding stars and other clues to direction and latitude during the voyage to Rapa Nui.

Resources within this website:

Possible Activity: Going out at night to identify stars used in navigation. Students in Hawai'i and elsewhere should be able to see some of the stars the navigators will be using for direction and latitude. Note: Those in the northern hemisphere will not be able to see some of the stars in the southern sky; those in the southern hemisphere will not be able to see some of the stars in the northern sky; the rising and setting points of stars and their altitudes as they cross the meridian will also differ at different latitudes.