Happy National Park Week! We celebrate "Park Stars"

Mystical southern night sky from Ofu Island! We get a brighter, richer view of the Milky Way in the southern hemisphere due to our location on the globe. Earth is part of the Milky Way Galaxy. It is our home!

Because we are part of this galaxy, when we look up into the night sky, we are looking at it on-edge, thus it appears as a whitish band across the sky. It's as if we held a round hand mirror at arms length and then turned the mirror to the right or left, we would then see only its straight edge.

Some groups of stars called constellations have been given fanciful names like the Big Dipper or Orion the Hunter. Several of these constellations provide important navigational guides to travelers, including the early Polynesians who crossed vast expanses of open ocean. But one key reference point is missing in the southern sky-there is no South Pole Star to act as a compass point like there is a North Pole Star (Polaris) in the northern hemisphere, so an important southern constellation is the Southern Cross (sumu).

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