University of Hawaii Instutute for Astronomy
IfA Hilo Facility
Koa's Outreach Page

Maintained by GF


IfA Hilo Outreach - Koa's Resources

(The Navigation Stars)

A selection of Hawaiian star names used by the navigators and crew of the Hokule'a during the voyage from Rarotonga to Honolulu, October 20 to November 20, 1992. Note: Refer to the Eastern and Western Horizon Diagrams—Rising and Setting Stars

'A'a ("Burning brightly"): Sirius in the constellation Canis Major, or the Big Dog; this blue-white star is the brightest in the sky.

Hawaiki (an ancient Polynesian homeland): Deneb in the constellation Cygnus.

Hoku-lei ("Star Lei"): Capella in the constellation Auriga ("Charioteer"); also the name for the constellation Auriga, which includes a circle of five stars forming a star-lei, the star Capella being the brightest star in the lei.

Hoku'ula ("Red star"): Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus.

Humu (a famous navigator): Altair in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle.

Ka Maile Mua ("The first maile"): Hadar, or Beta Centauri, in the constellation Centaurus, the Centaur.

Ka Maka ("The point of the fishhook"): Shaula in the constellation Scorpius. This is the point of Ka Maka Nui o Maui ("The Big Fishhook of Maui").

Kaulua-koko ("Brilliant red star"; "koko" means "blood; rainbow-hued"): Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion.

Ke Ali'i o kona i lia lewa ("The chief of the southern heavens"): Canopus in the constellation Carina, the Keel.

Keoe ("Sweet Potato"): Vega in the constellation Lyra.

Lehua-kona ("Southern Lehua blossom"): Antares in the constellation Scorpius.

Makali'i ("Little eyes" or "Little stars"): Pleiades a cluster of seven little stars.

Mole Honua ("The barren lands" or "the tap root of earth"): Acrux, the bottom of Hanai-a-ka-malama, the Southern Cross, which points to the celestial south pole.

Nana-Hope ("Look behind"): Pollux in the constellation Gemini..

Puana ("Blossom"): Procyon in the constellation Canis Minor, or the Little Dog.

Puana-kau ("Suspended Blossom"): Rigel in the constellation Orion.

* Download this document

Website Map Public Information Academics Research About us Home Mauna Kea Observatories Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii Contact us